Cody’s blessing/God loves you

We live in a world where innuendo and hate speech seem to dominate. Our news is filled with it and our leaders seem to delight in it. To ridicule one’s opponent is considered a measure of strength.

Unfortunately it seems to be the prerogative  of both political parties. Don’t talk about issues. It’s much easier to downgrade the opposing person. Make the other person look small in the positives, and huge in the negatives.

There seems to be little room for gentleness, love and mercy. “Do unto them before they do unto you.”

Considering the above, we weep for our children. Do we really want them to become what we are?  Are we the role models we want them to admire?

It was Summer Vacation Bible School at St. Stephens. Pastor John had asked me to assist  him with a lesson that he wanted to share with the kids. The story of Pentecost, a miraculous event, told about in the New Testament. People from all over the world were assembled  in the temple square in Jerusalem, and each person heard the apostle Paul tell the “Jesus story” in their own language, even though it was just one person, Paul, telling the story in  Hebrew.

My job was to read the story in Dutch, my native language, while Pastor John simultaneously would read the story in English.

The kids were arranged in small groups to represent the various nationalities present in the temple square that day. Then, at a prearranged time, I would switch over to English.

The idea was to give the kids a sense of what that event was like. It seemed that it worked well and it gave the kids a sense of what that event was really like.

When the class was finished each group lined up by the door, and Pastor John led them in a short prayer. To introduce the prayer moment Pastor John raised his hands over the kids and spoke the ancient blessing,  The Lord be with you“, and the kids replied, “And also with you”. The groups departed, one by one. Finally there was just one group left.

I had been quietly standing by the window, away from the door, watching the kids leave. When Pastor John said that familiar blessing for the last group, one little boy, named Cody, without a moment’s hesitation, walked over to where I was standing. He raised his hand, just like Pastor John had done, and as Cody looked up at me he said, “The Lord be with you.”

I blinked, and a tear rolled down my cheek, as I replied, “And also with you.” Cody smiled as he walked back to his group. I was a complete stranger to that little boy, but he did not want me to be left out of that ancient blessing,

As long as there are Cody’s in this world we can live in hope.

As I walked down the stairs at St. Stephens on the way to my office in the Choir Room, I passed several Montessori little people and their teacher.They were coming up the stairs and as we passed I greeted them saying “How’s everybody this morning?” Several kids replied, “We’re  fine”; but one little boy just kind of stared at me as we passed.

A moment later I heard that little boy ask his teacher, “Whose grandpa is that?”

It reminded me of the story of the little boy in school, working diligently on a drawing. The assignment was that each student had to draw something and the teacher would try to guess what each drawing represented. She walked around the room and was able to figure each drawing, except one. Little Mike’s drawing was very complicated and very abstract. She finally gave up and told Mike, and the entire class, that she was unable to guess what Mike’s drawing was all about.

She asked, “Mike, tell us, did you draw a picture of a person?”

Mike nodded, as he continued drawing.

“Who is it a picture of, Mike?”

He replied, “God.”

She said, “But Mike, no one has ever seen God, so no one knows what he looks like.”

Mike looked up, and with the wisdom of a child he said, “They will when I finish the picture.”

The little Montessori boy had not seen me before but there was no doubt in his mind that I was somebody’s grandpa. He reminded me that none of us are alone.

We are all part of something greater, part of the human family. We are all related. We are all fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and grandparents, to someone. Most importantly we are all children of  God.

It is almost time for the Master Painter to again paint our hills and dales. I remember reading a poem, many years ago, about Mecosta County in Michigan, it proclaimed that “God gives us the beauty of autumn, each year,  so that we can experience, here on earth, just for a little while, the beauty of the eternal heavens.”

We may not know what God looks like, but we can see him in the eyes of every child. In the flowers that bloom, in the autumn leaves, and even in the winter snow. So when, later this season, those little white pictures begin to fall, be not dismayed, but rather be thankful and know that each snowflake is an extravagant reminder of God’s creative way of saying, “I love you.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Gerrit Lamain is a former Copper Country resident who served as a music professor at Suomi College. He was also the organist for the Michigan Tech hockey team before moving on to the Minnesota North Stars.


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