Benediction

I witnessed something breathtakingly beautiful yesterday.

It was ten minutes before worship. I was in the sanctuary greeting people and making sure everything was in place. I’m going to say the man’s name is Stan. I’m guessing he’s in his late seventies. In his prime he was a stellar athlete, an outstanding baseball player. Now it takes him twenty minutes just to walk from the sidewalk outside our building into the sanctuary and find his seat in the pew. When Stan walks, the man who used to soar around the bases is curled into the shape of the letter “C.” Lingering back injuries and Parkinson’s disease have ravaged his body. As Stan and I were chatting, little children were running around in the aisles.

I’ll say her name is Kaya. She’s just turned two years old and is as cute as any two year old child to whom God has ever given the gift of life. I mean, she’s make-your-innards-ache cute. Yesterday her red gingham dress was simply icing on the cuteness-cake. From the opposite end of our very long pews she spied me and squealed my name, “Dr. Becky!” Making a bee-line for me I reached my hand in front of Stan to receive Kaya’s spirited high-five. What joy!

Not one to stay in one place very long, Kaya turned and headed back to the other end of the pew. I said, “Kaya, wait.” She stopped and looked at me quizzically. “How about giving Mr. Stan a high-five, too?” She nodded her perfect little head, grinned her perfect little smile and came back. Looking directly up into Stan’s face, Kaya gave him “five” but it was a different gift than that which she bestowed on me. She was more gentle in her approach and then, just as she was about to pull her hand away quickly the way one does when “giving-five,” Kaya paused and simply rested her perfect little hand on top of Stan’s age-ravaged hand and looked him, kindly, in the eye before turning and running to the other end of the pew.

Did I mention, Kaya’s just turned two? It’s only been a month or two since she clung tightly to her mama or tata and peeked shyly from behind their legs.

A crippled-up, proud and kind old man, received his benediction, his blessing on his day, as a free gift from an impossibly beautiful cherub, just before formal worship began.

And God was in that place. And God was in that moment. And tears were in our eyes. And a little child led us.

I love the church.

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