Thursday, 26 March 2020
Scripture: (click) Exodus 4:1-17
Last August, Irene and Roger Norian moved to Nashua from Middlebury, VT. They happened upon our church on a Sunday morning while they were exploring the area. The façade of the meetinghouse reminded them of their church back in Vermont. I, for one, am thrilled that God led them to our community; they’ve jumped into our faith community’s life with gusto, sharing their gifts, wise experience, and gracious hearts.
Today’s Devotional Reflection comes from Irene, who shared this story:
When I was at Regis College in 1964, I joined a group of classmates who taught religious education at the Walter Fernald State School in Waltham, MA. It was a large complex of austere brick buildings, housing hundreds of individuals from birth to old age. I was assigned to teach a group of 10- to 12-year old boys with a wide range of abilities, from some being non-verbal to those whose functionality made me wonder why they were institutionalized. We bonded readily, and I found myself looking forward to each week’s class.
One week, shortly before Christmas, I was talking to the boys about the Nativity story, and they went from that to a discussion of their Christmases. One boy was looking forward to going home to his family for a few days…another boy said he didn’t want to go home for the holidays because his siblings teased him. Then one boy started weeping, saying that he had no family—no mother and no father, no home but these brick buildings. He seemed inconsolable. A few of the other boys hovered around and patted his back, and then it dawned on me what to say. “Look, these boys are your brothers, and I am your sister, and you do have a father. God is our Father and even though we don’t see Him, He is always with us. We are really one family.” Other boys in the class picked up on this and asked, “Is he really my brother, are you my sister??” Yes, most assuredly. They jumped up and started hugging each other and me. From then on, we began each class with the Our Father and a hug. Fifty+ years ago, and each time I say the Lord’s Prayer, I think of those boys and pray they see their Father’s love.
As surely as God equipped Moses with the gifts he needed to accomplish the ministry he was being called to perform, God supplied Irene with the very wisdom and words she needed to minister to those little boys in that moment. Their response to her declaration of divine love and family told a story all its own about the importance of community. I don’t doubt that that moment was as significant to those boys’ tender souls as it was to Irene.
Some of us may be wondering how we’ll get through this long and isolating moment. In your moments of doubt and anxiety, hold fast to the words of Isaiah 41:10 – “[D]o not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”
Faithful God, give us confidence in your presence abiding with us. Help us to trust in the abilities you give us to care for each other, even when we are blazing new trails, learning new ways of being, feeling tested and tried like never before, occasionally growing weak in the struggle. Open our eyes and hearts to the gifts we have, and the places where you are providing wisdom, strength, courage for the onward journey. Amen.
Music: (click) “You Say” by Lauren Daigle