A handful of ladies work with 80 children from the local school for an hour telling them Bible stories, singing songs with them and helping them memorize scripture.
I attended because I am going to start a Bible Club in our community next week. I was inspired by this Good News Club (which has been regularly held for almost 38 years). I wanted to ask the kids if they would pray for the kids in Blunt who I hope will attend.
When they were asked they all shouted, "Yes!"
And I told them our group would pray for theirs.
I mainly listened while there. I made it a point to look the kids in the eyes and smile big at them, especially if I caught one of them looking at me. I'd gone there once before last spring. They all had remembered me.
I didn't go alone. My son Hawken came with me. He usually goes everywhere with me since he stays home with me.
The drive to Dupree is a good two hours (which means if I kept strictly to the 65 mile per hour speed limit it would take me longer), and when I got there we went right to lunch with a couple of dear friends. And so by the time we were done Hawk had been sitting for almost four hours.
He was tired. He needs to lay down and roll around. So, when we got to the church I took him out of his chair and let him do just that.
Shortly after the kids began to arrive. Every single child who walked in looked at Hawk, stared at Hawk intently. And when the Good News Club was over, all the children stared at him as they walked out the door. They couldn't get enough of his appearance.
Granted it is odd to see someone lying on the floor. And Hawk is very skinny. He's got spider arms and legs -- extremely long compared to his body. His fingers are very long too -- long, skinny and curvy. Plus, he's extremely flexible. He can put his feet behind his head. He regularly lays with his legs in the lotus position.
I didn't mind and Hawk doesn't mind being stared at. He likes the attention. Often when he's somewhere just sitting in his chair he gets ignored (or usually I think people don't know what to say to him since he doesn't talk).
Why I tell you this is because of what I saw in the eyes of the children. Hawk made them stop and think. His appearance jarred them out of their routine, out of their own lives and into a new place.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:27 that "God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things that are strong."
The strength of the kids wasn't so much "shamed;" but what did happen was God was in Hawk. God was there and gave the kids a "story" to look at; a parable if you like to open their hearts.
Eugene Peterson's Message Version of the Bible explains what I'm trying to explain so well. In Matthew 13:10-14, The Message says, "The disciples came up and asked, 'Why do you tell stories?'
"(Jesus) replied, 'You've been given insight into God's kingdom. You know how it works. Not everybody has this gift, this insight; it hasn't been given to them. Whenever someone has a ready heart for this, the insights and understandings flow freely. But if there is no readiness, any trace of receptivity soon disappears. That's why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight.'"
Jesus is still telling parables through people's lives. He is telling you stories. He is telling me stories. My life is a story for others -- it is a story for me too when I see God working, when I am thankful, when I am open to His work. He tells me stories through other people's lives when I see their responses and reactions to His hand in their lives.
And He tells us stories in media too: books, movies, TV -- the good stuff that touches our hearts, that melts them so they are receptive to change and truth and God's love.
I told Hawken on the way home that God uses him so much. He knows he can't walk or talk or do much of anything the world says we have to be able to do to be an important part in society, but he can let God work through him. And he has and does. The only way to explain it is God's Spirit.
Children in their own take care of their parents as much as their parents take care of them.
Hawk has a way of taking care of me that is so sweet in its effortlessness. It is something about the heart and love and purpose. Each of my children have different traits, different talents that affect me as I am loving them. I wouldn't be the same person I am now if I wasn't a mother.
And we could say this about other people too -- not just our children.
Are we listening? Are we listening to the stories Jesus is telling us?