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January 14, 2014

685654_54097902This past Sunday morning we had a visitor at church. We do get those from time to time. Actually on a somewhat regular basis. She came with some friends. I had met her recently at their marriage celebration.

Our culture would put her in a category and call her “special needs.” A much better reference than the one used before.

Anyway, from time to time during my messages I will ask a question of those gathered and actually expect an answer. Some kind of affirmative that lets me know, yes Darin we are listening. It usually takes everyone a minute to realize the question isn’t rhetorical. I’m guessing they often just think I am lost instead of waiting for an answer.

My new friend, our first time visitor, certainly understood. I was talking about having resolve and seeing ourselves differently. I asked the question, “What kind of different?” and then waited.

She was ready to answer almost immediately. She sheepishly raised her hand. One of those half up half down. You could tell as I looked out over the sanctuary that she wanted to answer. Wanted to answer badly. When I acknowledged her to let her know it was okay to speak it looked to me like she was shocked. She darted a glance to those around her as if expecting them to give her a visual cue that said it wasn’t okay.

None came and so she shared, “God’s our boss.”

Perfect. Excellent. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

It is one of the reason’s I love fellowships our size. I won’t call it small because there is nothing small about it. Nothing small about being at a place where this beautiful young lady can share her thoughts on God. I remember years ago attending a very large church in the Tulsa area on a Saturday night and noticing the signs that they had posted. Children were not allowed in the sanctuary. What was happening was just too important, the noise would distract others from worship and the message.special_quote

I have to admit, I was nervous when I prompted her to respond. I was thinking, “Is this a good idea?”

“Will she feel free to interrupt the rest of the day?”

“Will the answer be short?”

But all of that went away when I thought about Jesus. When I asked is this the right idea. I find irony in a church with a sign that says keep children out. I kind of wonder if anyone ever hears echoes of Matthew 19:13-15. I wonder if anyone stops and thinks something might be wrong here.

After the service this young woman approached me to shake my hand. And shake it again. And shake it vigorously.

I think it is too easy for me. For me to forget that we are all special needs. Praise God He sees us that way. Special enough to send Jesus. Special enough to let us in on the truth, we are all broken and messed up and not right. Special enough to set us free, to give us the Spirit. Special enough to call him Father in an intimate way and special enough to call us children, friends.

As she shook my hand she said I will be back if I can and this is one visitor I hope to see again.

God bless.

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