12th Sunday After Pentecost & Holy Communion

I’ve been meaning to ask. . . what do you need?

Read 2 Timothy 4:9-18

Commentary by Rev. Remington Johnson


While Job asked for nothing, Paul is active. He has requests. He has needs and he is making them known.

“What do you need?” This is such a direct and vulnerable thing to ask. It isn’t a limiting question like, “Would you like me to make you a casserole?” It is open-ended, and when we offer this question to another, we do not know how they will respond.


Paul responds with needs, wants, and a desire for justice. The list is long, both in things that Paul wants brought to him and in wrongs he needs to name.

I asked a person who was nearing death, “What do you need?” They answered, “I need to be healed. I need to feel better.” I cannot heal them. I am not sure I can make them feel better. I can be with them. I can witness the desires of their heart.

Paul offers us a moment of intense humility as he opens himself up to share what he needs. The grievances, the stuff—all of it is important, and offering space for folks to respond openly and honestly about what they need is such a sacred act. Note: this isn’t some form of paternalism where we quickly judge Paul’s needs and make decisions about whether those needs will really serve Paul. We may of course eventually move to a place in the conversation where we talk about what we can and cannot provide, but we must first trust the one we are meeting to know what they need. We can respond to someone's named needs with additions and clarifications, helping them really target the need that caused the specific request to arise, but again, the first step is hearing—fully hearing—what someone's needs are and discerning how we might respond.

 

Upcoming Events

Saturday, 8/27:

12 p.m. - 5 p.m.: Tiffin Pride at the East Green


Sunday, 8/28:

10:30 a.m.: 12th Sunday After Pentecost & Holy Communion


Sunday, 9/4:

10:30 a.m.: 13th Sunday After Pentecost & Baptism of James Allen Porter

Monday, 9/5:

Wedding of Ashley Carlisle to Grant Venema


Saturday, 9/10:

10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. FPC Open House

 

Here if You Need Me

by Rev. Sarah Are

I got the call and almost

rushed right over.

I wanted to hold your hand and

tell you it would be okay.

I wanted to start a meal train.

I wanted to bring casseroles and flowers

and hope of better days.

I wanted to take my heart

out of my chest

and put it in yours

so that the ache might fade.

I wanted to speak, and fight,

with the person in charge.

I wanted to get justice,

I wanted to make it fair.

I wanted to start a campaign.

I wanted to rewind time,

to easy, better days.

There is so much that I want to do,

but it’s not about me.

It’s about you.

So tell me—

what do you need?

I am here.

I am listening.