On the shelf in my office is a red glass chalice. A minister with a chalice on the shelf is hardly unusual, but I’ve had this one since I was a very young girl.
Her name was Winnie Kunz. She rocked babies in the church nursery every Sunday morning. She was as formative to the children of our church as any of the matriarchs and patriarchs. When she died, her family distributed the glasses to children she had loved. I didn’t fully understand, but the tears in my mother’s eyes told me the gift was exceedingly special.
Boyce Honea… Jean Prichard… Coleman Ashlock… Mary Ruth Quade. These were the people who served God by loving and teaching children at church. They were righteous and devout, much like Simeon, and they could be found within the halls of our church, looking forward to what God would do next. The Holy Spirit rested on them, and flowed through them, touching young lives for generations.
All too often, I encounter young parents at the hospital who do not have a community of faith to support them. They are scared and overwhelmed, and they wonder how they will ever raise this fragile baby alone.
“My prayer for you,” I whisper over the little one, “is that you will grow to become all you were created to be.” The parents smile gratefully, even as I leave knowing that a one-time encounter with a chaplain is no substitute for a church family. Oh, how they need Simeons and Annas in their lives.
Who were the Simeons and Annas of your childhood? Who are the little ones who need your blessing?
Open our eyes and widen our hearts, dear God. There are families around us who need to be blessed, children who need to be loved. Amen.