I spent this past summer in a clinical pastoral education program, a requirement for ordination. Most students choose to carry out this work in hospitals, but I chose Phoebe Ministries, a network of residences with a range of services for people with dementia in my area. It was a beautiful, challenging and transformative experience.
Living with memory loss, dementia or Alzheimer’s, many of the people I came to know only knew themselves in parts and pieces that were floating away from them. They knew themselves through what they had lost.
Sometimes, as we see people growing older, we see them losing the qualities and characteristics that we have loved. Too easily, we can see them as shadows of their former selves.
But Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 13:12 that we are fully known by God, even as we struggle to know ourselves and each other. “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.”
This message is an excerpt from “Learning to see God’s beloved” by Mary Button in the October 2019 issue of Bold Cafe. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins today, and we celebrate the Confession of Peter.
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