Yesterday, three of us gathered with June in her home for Church at Home. Her gatherings are modified to fit her memory limitations, so we do hymns, prayer and communion when we go and see her.
She opened the door and said, “well gracious, did you bring the whole church?”
We made ourselves cozy in the living room, as Pat presented June with a bag full of silk scarves. We watched as June carefully pulled out each one, holding it up to the light to admire its beauty. When I mentioned that I thought they were just lovely and would look so good on her, June looked at me and said,
” Ah. I see. You think you are being clever by bringing me these so I’ll come to church with you! Well, I’ve got your number now, little girl.”
She continued unfurling the delicate scarves. Holding a thin one up to the light she said,
” This one won’t work, they’ll be able to see my bald spot.”
Pat came over to June on the couch.
“May I try one on you just so you can see?”
And we watched, delighted, by a simple holy moment of anointing: care and comfort, invitation and welcome, in a covering of silk. Hospitality in a pink cascade of printed flowers.
June looked radiant.
“Can I keep this one?” She asked
“You can keep all of them,” Pat responded, to June’s utter and preciously child-like delight.
The smile on June’s face spoke, almost audibly, of the love she knew she was receiving right then. Wrapped in love by scarves of silk and ink, her smile guided us right into our hymns of praise.
As we worshipped, and I could hear her sweet voice lifted in songs beloved by her for over 90 years, a strange mist clouded my eyes for a second, and I was captivated by the holy moment. Sitting right next to her, listening to her all but belt out
“standing on the promises of God,”
I was transported to a snapshot memory of my last Diana singing – a hymn sing in Diana Tennessee under a great big tent – with my grandfather and step gran. Pappaw couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket to save his life, but the promises nestled in his favorite hymns were treasures to him; treasures he would pour out in “song” on Sunday morning and Wednesday night, and one Friday night a year, for the last three years of his life, in Diana, with me.
As June lifted her praises for the beauty of the earth, her confidence in the promises of God on which she stands, her everlasting hope in Christ her solid rock, I could almost hear Pappaw singing along; like a fellow worshipper from the beyond, looking with pride on what he and I have been able to build together (in a way): a legacy of presence with isolated, sometimes neglected, senior adults who need a hand to hold, a listening ear, a prayer, a cracker, a cup of juice.
We wrapped up at June’s with communion and The Solid Rock.
“Well, ladies, that was just really, really good. This was such a nice surprise. Y’all come back now, any time. And, pray for me. Pray that my hair grows back soon.”
Thanks be to God for beautiful luxuries and simple delights. For bread, and juice, and the promises of God. For people who remind us of love and hope; for holy moments in ordinary time that create resonating hallelujahs deep within our souls.