No Visit in Hospital
Q: I was in the hospital for a few days. I was hurt when my minister didn’t visit me. What should I do?
A: First of all, did your minister know that you were hospitalized? Often, a pastor finds out that a member of his church was hospitalized when asked to pray for that person the next Sunday. The hospital may ask your religious preference upon admission, but they don’t call to let your minister know. If it’s a scheduled admission, tell your pastor ahead of time. If it’s an emergency, you may need to call from the hospital or trust your family or friends to do it for you. Often, the hospital will call if you ask them to do so. Perhaps you have been blaming your minister for something of which he is entirely unaware.
However, it could be that your minister knew and still didn’t come. Sometimes church members give the impression that they’d rather the pastor not bother and then wonder why he doesn’t. At other times, ministers may wrongly prioritize. Hospital time is seldom enjoyable, and the worries and doubts that accompany even “routine” procedures can be intense. If your minister found other ways to spend his day, gently tell him that you would have deeply appreciated his being with you. Let him know that even a short visit with a prayer and a few words of Scripture would have meant very much. Then be willing to forgive and to pray that the Lord will direct him to be more conscientious in the future.
Send email to Ask the Pastor.
Walter Snyder is the pastor of Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Emma, Missouri and coauthor of the book What Do Lutherans Believe.
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Newspaper column #3:2