My husband and I just returned home from a visit with our new grandson. We truly enjoy spending time with Daniel’s parents, too. Still, I must acknowledge that Daniel was the focus of this visit. You see, this was the first time that little Daniel appeared to be a typical newborn to me. Though it has been only six days since our last visit, I noticed these changes immediately. Daniel has gained more weight and is well beyond that five-pound milestone. He has traded his preemie clothing for his newborn wardrobe. Though Daniel has always been alert, his facial expressions and movement attest to his continuing development and health. His absolute delight at feeding time reassured me further. During the drive home, I didn’t say much to my poor husband because I was busy expressing gratitude to God. Finally, I was able to let go of the worry which had overwhelmed me since Daniel’s premature birth.
After completing my prayer, I remarked to my husband that I didn’t miss those long drives to the hospital in Chicago. Nonetheless, we both agreed that, in spite of that drive, we will be forever grateful to the staff at Prentice Women’s Hospital. They took amazing care of Daniel and his mom and dad. This made all of the difference because the hospital served as their home-base for twenty-four days.
By our third visit, we began to feel at home there as well. Regardless of when we arrived, this bustling environment teemed with people. Visitors, employees and new patients streamed from the parking lot to the hospital and down dozens of corridors leading to places we would never explore. Every time we navigated our way to the elevators, I was struck by the variety of people who journeyed with us. I heard French, German and Spanish, Polish, Chinese, an African dialect and British and Australian accents. Chicagoans’ offerings of American English quickly revealed their South and West and North Side roots. I encountered chiseled faces with long and short noses, high and mid-placed cheek bones, very full and very thin lips. I can’t begin to list the numerous shades of hair color that topped my fellow humans as we made our way. Every time we visited the hospital, I remarked to my husband that we were truly in the midst of a melting pot of God’s children. And, in spite of our varied appearances and languages, our eyes betrayed to all who noticed the common concern which brought each of us to this place of healing.
I share our hospital adventures because they echo the message found in the scriptures. Passages from Numbers (11:25-29) and Mark’s gospel (9:38-48) underscore God’s unconditional love for each one of us. Numbers tells us that Moses’ followers complained because two among them who were not blessed with the spirit of Moses had received the gift of prophesy like the rest. Joshua went so far as to tell Moses to stop the two who had no business doing God’s work. While Joshua questioned who the two interlopers thought they were by acting in God’s name, Moses declared that he wished all of the people did the same.
In Mark’s gospel, a similar situation unfolded. In this case, it was John who complained that an outsider had healed in Jesus’ name. John reported to Jesus that he told the man to stop, but the man refused. Jesus responded just as Moses did. “Do not prevent him,” Jesus said. “There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us. Anyone who gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ, amen, I say to you, will surely not lose his reward.” In other words, leave him alone! God is far more concerned with the hearts of those who do good than with their varied exteriors or affiliations.
You know, when Daniel’s parents drove to the hospital in search of the timely and safe delivery of their baby, they didn’t scrutinize the physical attributes or religious affiliations of their caretakers. They trusted that the Prentice Hospital staff would respond to their needs skillfully and appropriately. Indeed, they were not disappointed by their sisters and brothers in this human family of ours. This grandma is most grateful that God has fashioned the differences which make us who we are. Each of our carefully designated gifts is counted among the tools we need to heal, to encourage and to love one another along the way. Little Daniel offers amazing proof of power of the gifts which we bring to one another.
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