It happened again, so I must share again. This time, it was Abba, Jesus’ Dad.
Last night, I sat in the back of the church. I usually choose this seat because I enjoy looking over the congregation as we pray together. That beautiful sea of God’s kids gathered in prayer quenches my thirst for community. Last night, my second reason for choosing the back of the church was my role as coordinator of the evening’s liturgy.
It was easy enough to prepare things ahead of time. Sitting in the back gave me the ability to see everything and to respond immediately if I had forgotten something important. The not-so-easy part was watching everything unfold for nine people whom I have come to know well this past year. These nine studied with my husband and me in order to prepare to be received into the church. Last night, they took their final steps by being baptized, making a profession of faith or completing their sacraments of Confirmation and Eucharist. I felt like a teacher who had rehearsed a program with her students and then watched with great anticipation as it unfolded. Like that teacher, I knew it was up to my students to make their way through the evening. I could only watch from the sideline and support them with my love and admiration.
As these nine made their way through each of the steps they had prepared for, I realized that I was seeing them with different eyes. Somehow, each of their successes and each of their vulnerabilities emerged before me. Somehow, I began to view them with the love and compassion of a parent -The Perfect Parent. Somehow, while I wished the very best for each one of them, I also knew that I must let each one continue on his or her own. Somehow, I heard myself say, “This is what the gift of free will is all about. I made them in my image, and now I must trust them to do their best with that.” My image?
Dear, dear God, thank you for allowing me this moment to see others as you see each one of us. I am beginning to understand why our lives unfold as they do. You prepared each one of us perfectly well. You also armed each one of us with free will. Yes, Dearest Abba, you care about every moment of our every day. Still, you love us enough and honor us enough to allow us to do what we do on our own terms. So it is that I must never blame you for my circumstances. Rather, I must turn to you in whatever goodness or evil I find myself and I must respond as only I can.
Yes, it happened again. I simply had to share God’s gracious gift to me.
©2013 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved