Alright everybody. It’s that time!
Though the sanctuary lighting was nothing exceptional it highlighted the richest shock of blond hair I had ever seen. On anyone – male or female. The occasion – our youth rally, where teens showed up at that monthly gathering’s host church – wherever it happened to be.
Oddly, for a clergy simply receiving an offering Pastor John’s enthusiasm seemed tangible. Contagious. The glint in his blue eyes conveyed his pleasure. And warmth. This was near his heart – this offering – for missions.
Songs had already been sung. Hands had clapped. Youthful energy released into guitar strings, accordion keys and the occasional tambourine. It was the way with our youth rallies. Kids with musical talent – whether well developed or barely evolving – united in praise. John affirmed at every level. No spectator himself, his own electric guitar drooped comfortably at his midsection. It responded easily to his familiar touch.
Two empty collection baskets sat at the church’s altar up front.
OK, here’s our chance to join the Lord in sending his Good News of Jesus throughout the world.
The contagious smile, strong as ever.
Our Rally Offerings help Nigerian evangelists share Jesus way over there in Africa. But now first, young people (his voice softened), let’s quiet ourselves. Let’s pray for our dear brothers laboring in hard places far from here. These servants need our prayers as much as our quarters, dimes and dollars.
By the prayer’s ending most of us guys and girls fished what currency we could from our blue-jean pockets or pink-and-silver purses.
Filing from our seats, weaving forward, we dropped our modest offerings in. Dispatching salvation to the ends of the earth.
Pastor John laid aside a guitar pick. He took up his microphone, then his Bible. And soon found a reference.
Young people, listen up. I want you to hear this. Tonight we are helping dear African brothers to go among their own – taking God’s precious message of hope and life.
Listen. The slight pastor with his planet-size heart paused reverently. The room grew still.
God calls every one of us to the mission field in one way or the other. All of us to the world’s unreached nations. Now. I want you to do something. Turn your eyes toward your shoes. Just do this would you. Look at your shoes now, your feet. Keep your eyes to them.
Our focus shifted from hair-dos, from after-meeting burgers and fries. And from wherever our minds may have been carried by a random daydream.
Pastor John read slowly – his tone deliberate – from the book of Romans in the New Testament. We young people each one remained still. Eyes fixed – throughout the sanctuary – on our respective pairs of feet.
“How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”
I stared at the pair of shoes nearest me. My own. The shoe at the end of my shorter leg – that limped, sometimes tripped. My mind went to descriptive mode. Shoes housing the weirdest, most pitiful-looking feet in the county. Maybe the state? I let myself try to imagine.
What if, though, in God’s eyes somehow – What if he sees beauty. Even in this pair of feet?
I smiled slightly. In the continued quietness supplied by Pastor John the question surfaced again. From within. More forcefully, but sweetly. What if.
I felt my eyes moisten. As if to water a seed.
©2015 Jerry Lout