Vignette from the Church Balcony

When I am late for church I sit in the balcony, lean over, and people watch.  One Sunday I sat charmed by seeing an elderly man reaching forward to the pew in front of his, to hook fingers with the little baby girl standing at her mother’s shoulder, looking at him.

Such a sweet moment.  Any one of us would have been that person, connecting with that sweet baby, softening our eyes, bringing out all our warmth and radiating love and acceptance.

That day at church was also a child dedication.  The congregation is asked to recite verses in chorus, promising to watch over these children and help bring them up in the beloved community, a world striving for justice and peace.  Again, who wouldn’t agree?

But let us think on what that love and dedication really means.  The baby grows up.  They may have learning challenges.  They may not be brought up well, may be insecure, angry.  They may have difficulties making social and emotional connections.  They may sometimes be defiant, arrogant, disrespectful.  They may be sad and uncommunicative.  They may be violent.  They may hurt themselves.  This baby may not be all these things, but we know they will not be all sweetness and light.  And we know that some will test us, provoke us, send us to despair.

And who sticks by that child, during those times?  Who is still willing to hang in and provide their beloved community?  Who will remember that these are the times that child really needs soft eyes, warmth, love and acceptance?


4 thoughts on “Vignette from the Church Balcony

  1. Beautiful sentiment on children. So true about the challenges they can bring us and standing by can be tough for all involved. I have one of those and we’ve stood and stood and prayed and prayed. God is faithful and able. I’m already thanking him for the victory that is already unfolding in his life. D 🙂


  2. We both sliced about babies today. You focused on what it will be like for the baby to grow up. I focused on the grandma’s of the babies because today, not one, but two of my friends had grandbabies enter the world! However, one of my friends is losing her ability to speak and function. Yet today, she holds the new baby! So many challenges in our world. Yet, new babies arrive offering us hope.


  3. I thought this was very beautiful. I love how you took this small moment in the church between the man and the baby and made it “bigger.” The compassion we have for children when they are young should continue as they get older.


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