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Lightbulb moments

Simple, unexpected and beautiful

Last Sunday as I sat in church, something happened that made me smile. Something simple, unexpected and beautiful.

We were celebrating the Lord’s Supper together. We don’t do it frequently, but somehow that makes the remembering more particular and significant.

The way we go about it is not very formal, and yet somehow that pared-back plainness makes it easier to focus on what’s essential. As we read the biblical narrative once more of Christ’s death for us—his willing sacrifice to save us from the guilt and penalty of sin—the significance of the remembrance is not lost to familiarity.

Photo by Mattea Photography | Lightstock.com
Photo by Mattea Photography | Lightstock.com

We use tiny cubes of bread (rice crackers for the gluten-free folk) and Lilliputian plastic cups of grape juice. They’re rather odd 21st century symbols of our Saviour’s broken body and shed blood. But they do the job.

And because we’re a big crowd when we’re all together, it takes a while to share the meal around to everyone. So a quiet and modest woman in our church family plays the piano as we wait.

It’s the most public thing she ever does among us, but she serves us with thoughtful grace and skill, selecting familiar songs that emphasise Jesus’ work of salvation. And she plays them with delicate clarity.

Most Sundays she sits near the back of the auditorium with her elderly father and her young adult son who has Down’s syndrome. She ensures that they are part of our fellowship, singing with us and listening to the faithful preaching of the good news about Jesus.

Last Sunday as we waited for everyone to be served, the final song she played for us was one many could sing in their hearts:

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to him belong, they are weak, but he is strong.

She was only a few bars into the song, when her father began to sing along. Softly and distinctly his light tenor voice carried throughout the space.

The clear, simple words communicated profound truth to us. The unexpected singing reminded us of the power of that truth. And the beautiful rendition once more confirmed that salvation through Christ Jesus is God’s gift to every ‘little one’ who trusts in him.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me (Matthew 18:1-5).

I have loved this song since childhood and it has never failed to give me joy. But now its simplicity is sharper, deeper and more achingly lovely than I ever thought possible.

Featured image: Photo by enterlinedesign | Lightstock.com

4 Comments

  • Avatar

    Sarah Walter

    I know exactly who the people are that you are referring to Lee and I wish I could have heard it! I remember at Beach mission going into retirement homes and singing these wonderful old songs with them as they drew from their childhood and sunday school memories. Very special.

    • Avatar

      Lee

      Yes, Sarah, music is such a powerful gift. What an amazing ministry to be a part of – they must be very lovely memories for you too.

  • Avatar

    Ian Porter

    I didn’t know the lady, nor did I hear her son singing along, but I found it very moving to hear the song again. Apparently, Karl Barth, the famous theologian, was asked by a reporter ‘What is the deepest truth you’ve discovered in the Bible?’ He replied, ‘Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.’

    • Avatar

      Lee

      I’ve heard a slightly different version of that story, Ian, but the essence is the same – a renowned theologian was changed forever by the simple, but profound, truth of Jesus’ love for him. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

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