When asked to indicate their religious affiliation, more and more people are choosing to check the "none" box. In other words, the number of people that do not identify with any organized religion is on the rise. Pastors and other church officials often fret over this growing statistic, but in healthcare ministry, it’s just another day at the office.
I have spoken with people who are Pagan, Wiccan, Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, and an untold number of people who choose not to identify with any particular religion. I also speak with many who identify themselves as Christian, but no longer regularly attend church. No matter what religion or non-religion of these people, they all have something in common. They are all going through a challenging time of life. They are often alone, definitely not in control of what is happening to them, and facing everything from life-changing illnesses and injuries, mental health challenges, and end of life fears and concerns.
Into each of these situations, we enter in with the love and compassion of Jesus to spend time, listen to stories, hold hands, and bring comfort, forgiveness and hope. We enjoy the unforced rhythms of God’s grace together. What a privilege it is sharing hope with those who need it most!
Chaplain Mark Wenzel