Last Sunday, I watched an amazing, awe- inspiring thing. We
were at Sunday morning service and the congregation was singing a song. Pretty
typical occurrence to most but that’s not how I saw it. We were singing a song
that had words that reached to the depths of our hearts and, as I looked around,
I was struck by what I was seeing. People were standing with hands-raised, in worship
to our King, as we declared that He was the “Bread of Heaven, sent down from
Glory”. He is our portion and our provision and on this day, the reality of
that brought a congregation to its feet as well as its knees.
I looked around as I reflected on the past year…and what a
year it’s been! For my family, I can’t recall
a year that’s been as challenging and difficult but I knew we were not alone.
As I was observing people around me and throughout the tabernacle, I began taking
inventory of the trials and tribulations that were represented among us. With
the dreadful economy, there were many that had lost jobs, homes, and had a
tough year financially but they were there anyway. There were those who had
suffered major health issues and those still fighting that fight but they were
still fighting. There was a father who fought through a year with his son away,
after a heroin overdose and a jail sentence, but he never missed a service.
There were those who faced lonely times with family serving in the military and
those who did the same as a result of divorce but they joined the church family
each Sunday, no matter what or who.
Right behind me was a woman that had lost her mother and mother-in-law,
all in one year, but she was still singing. I thought of those who had lost
loved ones and they, too, were still singing. Then, the unspeakable…there were
the precious parents who lost their precious children. I didn’t have to look
far to see them beginning with my mother-in-law who watched her daughter, our
beloved Debbie, take her first breath and then her last. She had her hands
raised looking to the heavens and yet, she has never blamed God…she is still
worshiping Him. I thought of other parents; one mother was just a few rows
back and what a prayer warrior she is! She buried her son but she is still praying.
A young couple lost their baby daughter just a few days before she was due. The
mother had to give birth but had no baby to take home….it’s unthinkable.
Although they are without their baby girl, this couple ministers every Sunday
in children's church…they are still serving. And ,of course, there was the loss of our dear Elder, and though he left us prematurely, I still see his precious wife and daughter singing through tears. His loss has left all of us shell-shocked and limping but... we are still walking.
I looked to my right and my left to see my daughter, son,
and husband knowing what we've faced and faced down this past year. All of them were worshiping and then it hit me. So much was taken
from so many of us this year but so much was still given. Bread of Heaven, our
Provider still kept us and kept us standing. We knew it and though we had empty hands, we did not have empty hearts. It made me think of the Dr. Suess
classic, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”; I guess my mind works in mysterious
and child-like ways! But as I looked around, I thought to myself,”We are like
the Whos in Whoville”! In the scene, near the end, the Grinch has stolen everything
that belonged to the Whos, in the town of Whoville, yet they were still singing
and giving thanks because they still had each other and they still had joy. Of course, as the story
goes, this totally perplexes the Grinch.
Likewise, there we were. How perplexed must the devil be with
a group of people he fought all year and yet nothing he did was enough to keep
them from singing and giving thanks? We
were the Whos and he was the Grinch! The
Grinch finally gave up and returned the stuff but stuff didn’t matter to the
Whos and stuff doesn’t matter to us either. Why? The Whos knew WHO and we do too! “Bread of
Heaven, sent down from Glory, manger-born
but on a tree, You died to save humanity…YOU Are The Living Word!
Because He lives and is still here…so are we.