This appeared originally as “Reflections on a Tuesday Meeting” in First Thoughts May 25, 2007, an email devotional that goes out to members and friends of First Presbyterian Church, Chattanooga. You, too, may sign up for these weekly devotionals by going to the home page of FPCC and signing up.
But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
I was told by the child’s mother that what happened today would never be forgotten by her child. I don’t know about that. But I will never forget our time together. It was so simple, so refreshing to my soul.
A child in our congregation has a tender heart to the things of the Lord. Her mother brought her to see me. The child had questions and kept asking her mother, “Did you get that appointment with the minister yet?” Well, today we had our appointment. I read some Scripture with this little girl and then I said, “Let’s take a walk.” I asked her if she had ever been in the sanctuary when no one else was there. Our sanctuary seemed big to me when I first saw it. You can imagine how it appeared to that little child. Well, we walked in and just stood there. I told that child, who had been baptized there as an infant, “Do you see that light filtering through that beautiful window?” “Yes I do,” she said.
“On the day you were baptized the light of God’s sun came through the colored glass just like that. This room was full of people. Look over there. That baptismal font is where you were baptized.” I held her hand and we walked over to it. I asked her if she would like to touch the water. She ran her hand all over the font. I looked at her eyes that were full of wonder. “It was right here, on a very special day, when water was poured over your head when you were just a baby. That water was a sign. It was a sign of God’s grace, His blessing on you. Do you see the stained glass window of Jesus letting the children come to Him? That is what happened to you in baptism. God’s blessing is on you. Now God’s Holy Spirit, represented by that water, is washing you from the inside out. Is that what is happening? Is the Lord Jesus Christ moving in your heart today?” She said, “Yes, He is.” “Do you want to pray?” “Yes, I do.” Well, I bowed my head to pray, and noticed that she knelt. Before the same baptismal font where she was baptized, she now knelt. So I knelt with her. We prayed to the God of grace who placed her in a Christian home, who caused her parents to be her first and most important evangelists, and we thanked Him. She asked if she could become a follower of His, publicly. After our “Amen,” we both looked at each other and smiled. I helped her up (or did she help me up?). I asked her, “Have you ever seen what things look like from the pulpit?” “Oh, no, I have never been behind the pulpit.” We went and stood behind the pulpit and looked all around. She grabbed hold of that sacred desk with both hands, lifted herself up a bit, and with a big grin, looked over the expanse of empty pews. She seemed so curious about that pulpit. I remember how interested I was as a child. “What is he keeping behind there anyway?” Well, that is what I used to think.
After a little while, we walked back to her mother. Then we all had a Coke together and they were gone.
After they left, I had to return to counseling appointments, to some committee work, to preparations for our Session meeting, and to working on my sermon that was “still in the oven.” But for a moment I just accepted the gift of that time with a young child. I was reminded of the goodness of God, and how I needed to spend time thinking about simple things, profound things: love, sacrifice, Spirit, light, water, the heart of a little child, wonder, discovery, and Jesus.
I will be thinking about these things as I go back into the sanctuary the next time. I will be thinking about all these things when I look at the light as it filters through the stained glass window just the way it did when a little girl prayed at the font where she had been baptized.