"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chaplain Resources

As you have probably noticed, I have been quite busy and unable to post much lately. The reason I have been busy is that I am participating in a Summer Chaplaincy program at a Hospital. The experience has been very ecumenical, for good or ill, working at a Methodist Hospital with Baptist and Presbyterian supervisors, serving alongside others of all backgrounds.

I'm a confessional Presbyterian and love the homiletical and theological resources of the Presbyterian and Reformed Churches. However, so far, most of resources that I actually find useful on a daily basis are Anglican. I thought I might offer what I find helpful to others who may be doing hospital visits or chaplaincy work.

I began caring with me a Book of Common Prayer (BCP) into rooms. Yes, this is the 1979 version that everyone thinks is liberal, but it is actually very helpful, filled with prayers largely based on the services of Thomas Cranmer, the martyred Archbishop of Canterbury that nearly made the Church of England Reformed. It contains a large number of prayers for the sick. If one is nervous about what to pray for, reading these prayers before entering the room can help the pastor know what might be good to pray for (healing, skill in nurses and doctors, comfort, salvation, etc.) The BCP also has a service/prayers for the family upon death, which helps if one is struggling for good words at this time. One of the best parts is the Psalter. Many who are sick wish to hear their favorite Psalms (23, 40, 46, etc) and this has a modern language version based on the NRSV, which is 98% the same as the ESV.

I recently picked up a combination Book of Common Prayer and NRSV Bible. If a patient, instead of a Psalm wishes to hear Romans 8 (or Romans 9 if they're Presbyterian), John 10, or something different, you are not scrambling for the Gideon or leaving and coming back with a Bible, or carrying multiple books awkwardly into the room. Again, yes this is the NRSV, but it is largely similar to the ESV except for some gender neutral language that is easy to change back while reading. This is better than lugging around the 1928 and trying to change all the "eths" and "thous" in reading which sounds overly formal and detached at a time that needs to be intimate.

Finally, driving to work can be intimidating each morning. So to help on the drive in, I have started listening to Morning Prayer put out by an Anglican Church in podcast form. It is mostly a reading of an Old Testament, Epistle and Gospel passage with prayer. The Scripture passages help form my prayer language throughout the day.