Throughout my life, I believe that God has cast pictures for my brain to capture. It is in those pictures that God has spoken most clearly to me. I have this great permanent slideshow that allows me to reflect and be open to God's voice and message, (either the same message or a retuned one), again and again.
For example, as I have told before, I had an experience in Paris where I exchanged my scarf for a wonderful smile from an elderly woman. Along with other snapshots, I knew that my life would always center around caring for those who could not care for themselves, in some capacity or another. God likes to remind me of her face whenever I am lost in the paperwork or politics of a chaplain's daily life.
Sunday, I got to add another picture to the collection. Against the backdrop of a beautiful and beautifully sung melody, I looked over to my right at the father and daughter at the end of the pew.
Her sisters and mother were singing and she sat, ear attuned, as they sang. Her head turned with a sudden curiosity and she saw that her father's hand rested on her shoulder, her body snugly enveloped in his arm. And then, as if she had only become aware of his hand at that moment of seeming discovery, her face lit up with pure joy. Every muscle in her face was dedicated to smiling. If she had made any sound, it would have been a shriek of delight. She grabbed one of his fingers with her hand and confirmed outwardly her love and her elation in her whole being. It was like she knew, with his touch, that she was his. And, with her responding touch, she certainly showed that he was hers.
I don't know that anyone else was able to see her face though I wish the whole congregation could have seen that picture. If they had, there would have been no need for a sermon. I feel privileged to have seen it myself and hope that it remains in my life, especially as I find myself sitting beside my baby girl.
I needed to be reminded that there is innocence and good still in the world. I needed to be reminded that touch and presence conveys more about an intimate love than any material purchase. I needed to be reminded that I too am named and known. That realization, confirmed over and over again, offers me sustaining hope and redemption.
Why is the "greatest of these" love? I believe that I now have at least part of the answer.