Jesus Loves Me

We took a family trip last weekend and went to see my in-laws who are new to the snow bird life in Arizona. We went to church with them on Sunday and suffice it to say, our family brought down the average age by A LOT.
They attend an ELCA congregation in the Phoenix area. We were cracking up when we arrived at 8:12 and the parking lot and pews were already almost full for the 8:30 service. But they were there to hear the music that is played prior to the service, and it was the music that most moved me as well.
During communion, the organist started playing some familiar hymns after we had sung the ones listed in the bulletin. As I was walking up, she played “Jesus Loves Me,” and I almost wept as I was walking through a sea of gray hair, singing their hearts out to a song they learned as little children.
I think what moved me is the way God is still at work in our lives, no matter what stage we are in. There are a lot of folks in that church—my in-laws included, who have pulled up Midwest roots [at least during the cold months] and come out to a place where they don’t know as many people. Many have spent a lifetime in churches as leaders or quilters or presidents or teachers and as givers.
Many of them, after retiring, left jobs that were important. Or they have raised families and are now at the end of their lives and unfortunately live in a society that tends not to value its elders.
And yet here they were, singing that Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. The words are so simple. And as I watched them sing, I thought, you have had such amazing journeys. I don’t know where you have lived, who you have loved, what you have lost. But when I see you sing out that Jesus loves you as my children walk by, I praise God that it is true. And I hope they will know it their whole lives like you do.
Jesus does love them and us—so very much. And this vibrant congregation that doesn’t have a Sunday School or a nursery, is still a place where the Holy Spirit moves. They are part of the body of Christ, and Christ is using his body to love this world.
I love how God does that. From the least in the world to the greatest, God will use them. He doesn’t care what you have done or left undone, he just wants you to let others know that he loves them and to know that he loves you, too. And you can share that at any age and in any place.
Jesus love me this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Thanks for the reminder, sisters and brothers in Phoenix.

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