Full Text for The Minister in the Sick-Room (Text)
er die Scbafe ull terweise. wi.
5ie rfcbte Cbri,ten sollen soin. sondern
auch dnnebcn den Woollen w.hr .... dass
ie die Scbafo nicbt angrelfen und mit
fnIscher Lohre verfuehren und Irrtum ein·
fllehren. - Luther.
Es i,t kein Ding. das die Leute mebr
bei der Kirche behaelt denn die gute
Predigt. - Apo/Ollie. Art. 2.+.
II the trumpet give an uncertain Bound.
who 'hall prepare himself to tbe battle!
1 Cor. L+. 8.
Published for the
E v. Luth. Synod of Missouri, Ohio, and Other States
CONCORDIA PU:BLISHI NG HOUSE, St. Louis, Mo.
442 The Minister in the Sick-Room.
However, if some congTegation, for reasons which seem valid
enough to its membership, desires to use the basis of the 1.1:atins
liturgy to build up a form for the chief service of the day, the follow-
ing points might be considered. Opening Sentences of an appropriate
nature may be used. The Oonfession of Sins may precede the opening
Versicles. In that case it may be well to add the Kyrie and also the
Suffrages at this point; for the Kyrie is best connected with the Oon-
fession, if the sacramental nature of the service is to be brought out
more strongly. Following the Venite and the l1ymn, the number of
psalms may be reduced to two or even to one, so that the lessons of
the day may by an means be read. The Oreed should follow the
lessons, since it represents the confession of the congregation as con-
nected with the lessons, preceding the Sermon. And let us by an
means, give proper attention to the principles of Lutheran liturgics
as stated above lest a greater confusion than ever be caused by various
home-made orders of services. P. E. RRETZMANN.
The Minister in the Sick-Room. *
Disease, that indefinable, inexplicable foe of the mind and body,
has challenged the thought and faith of humanity since the beginning
of time. The mysteriousness of its origin, the uncertainty of its out-
come, the destructive result of its ravages - these are the factors
that have led men to question the ways of God. It has driven men,
through fear and apprehension, into every kind of superstitious prac-
tise, secret cults, charms and magic potions, votive offering or weary
pilgrimages, in a pathetic attempt to appease angry spirits, to ward
off noxious influences, or to counteract unknown evils.
With Ohrist's coming our whole conception of the care of the sick
was utterly changed. Since then the ministry of healing has had an
important place in the program of the Ohristian Ohurch. In this
the minister has an important part to play. In addition to directing
the way to salvation and comforting the dying, he may be a help and
stimulus in speeding the recovery of the patient with his cheerfulness
and well-balanced optimism.
Well-directed, normal suggestions will leave new, helpful
thoughts with the sick long after the minister has gone. Physicians
employ suggestion habitually, usually unconsciously, but effectively.
The mind influences the physical condition of every patient, no matter
what his ailment. Even incurable cases are kept comfortable by
simple and proper means which affect the mental processes.
* This short article from extra-Lutheran sources may be of interest.
The Minister in the Sick-Room. 443
Belief in eventual recovery affects the patient's general condition
and nutrition. He eats better and sleeps better [!]; even his heart
action is promoted by this hopeful and contented attitude of mind.
His symptoms present themselves to him in a less exaggerated and
The nervous system affects every structure of the body. Every
tissue has a dominating nerve supply, and direct nervous control is
evidenced in the circulatory apparatus - the glands, the muscles, and
the bones and joints. The effect of the mind on the nervous system
is proved by numerous physiological facts and by a still greater num-
ber of clinical facts.
Direct suggestion consists in the frank statement to the patient
that he is improving or will get well. [The opposite statement will
often be in order.] It should be made moderately, as the patient
leadily builds upon, and adds to, the suggestion himself. The patient
may, for instance, be led to expect a change of symptoms before a
sufficient time has elapsed for a c~ange to ensue. Under these circum-
stances the influence of the physician, pastor, or friend and the con-
fidence reposed in him by the patient may be shaken. Nevertheless,
direct suggestion is of utmost value, especially if the friend be one
whose personality is forcible and impressive.
The pastor's visit is expected and eagerly anticipated by the
patient; but care should be taken that he be cool and calm. He
should have presence of mind under all circumstances, using good
judgment in moments of danger, excitement, or distress. A doctor of
medicine brings calmness and a sense of security by his very presence.
Do not stay long with the sick. One should be as deliberate in enter-
ing the sick-room as if he were going to stay all day, but aft~r a few
moments, before the patient becomes wearied (which is usually very
quickly), he should go. The sick, like the aged, are hungry for per-
sonal attention and should be made to feel that they are the center of
the stage. Oentering the conversation on the sick will itself demand
a short rather than a long visit.
There is an art in leaving properly and "retreating in good
order." Not "Thank Heaven, that is over," nor "Well, I must be
going," but still drag on in a gloomy manner. If it is time to go,
say go and go. I believe it should be the rule and not the exception
for the minister to pray in the sick-room for forgiveness of sins and
renewed faith and hope.
The patient in a hospital the evening before an operation is
usually in a solemn mood, especially if alone. The normal man is
not afraid, but he is glad to see his pastor and take refuge in a
strength not his own. During convalescence, time hangs heavy, and
company is appreciated. During the time of serious illness and a few
444 The Minister in the Sick-Room.
days following an operation when patients are still weak, they are
usually overvisited by friends, who unknowingly and unintentionally
do them real harm.
~When a minister visits a hospital, he shollld, if he is not ac-
qu&inted with the authorities, make himself known.
The visiting rules of the hospital should be regarded. Usually
a minister is allowed some latitude as to his hours of visiting; but he
should let this permission come from the proper authorities and not
take it for granted. It is important to report to the nurse in charge
of the ward or room at every visit. Although the office may permit
one to enter and give the number of the patient's ward or room, it is
courteous to report to the nurse in charge before entering. In visiting
a ward, speak a word to all other patients. [A general greeting.] It
will please them.
When a person's days are known to be numbered, the pastor
should spend more time with the patient. The conversation should be
such as becometh godliness. Let faith be strengthened; let hope be
in the atmosphere and trust in the prayer. It is not always best to
talk of death except in extremes or at the insistence of the dying.
Prayer with the dying is a very delicate ordeal [1J, and no rules can
be made for it.
In answer to the specific question, ~What should one do when vis-
iting a person sick with a contagious disease to avoid contagion per-
sonally and pTevcnt the carrying of contagion to others? I would say:
Wear a gauze mask over the mouth and nose, especially when
visiting a patient with influenza or pneumonia.
Avoid shaking hands with the patient, nurse, or family.
Do not handle objects in the sick-room or house.
Do not eat or drink in a home where there is a contagious disease.
Insist that the patient cover the nose and mouth with a hand-
kerchief when coughing or sneezing.
Keep at least five feet away from the patient when he is talking,
as five feet is considered the minimum safety zone for spray infection
dUTing ordinaTY conversation; when he coughs, it is greater.
vVash your hands with soap and water (prefeTably running water
under a faucet) just before leaving the honse.
Upon arrival home hang the outer coat outdoors for an airing
in the sunshine and again wash the hands.
There is much less danger of contagion in attcnding a funeral
when death was due to a contagious diseasc than in the visiting of
a person sick with a contagious disease.
ROBERT EARL, M. D., in Watchman-Examiner.