on a mission to embody grace and compassion in all relationships

The Many Faces of God

In our congregation, we receive communion at the front of the sanctuary and kneel (if able) to receive the bread and wine.   It is a reflective, grace-filled time as familiar choruses are sung softly by the congregation.

This part of worship has become meaningful to me as I watch individuals and families make their way to the altar before and after us.  Because our church is small, we have friendships and connections with many of the participants and know some of their personal stories.

I see an optimistic friend who makes his way to the altar with a cane next to his wife.  I think of him as he stands, unable to kneel, and how we have held him in our prayers for the last few months as he has endured chemotherapy (again) to battle his cancer.  I think about all that he and his wife have endured and breathe a prayer of thanks for his presence.

A two year old girl catches my eye who was born in China as she is held by her adopted mother.  As the little girl passes by our pew, she looks at me and grins.  I return her smile and she starts waving at me with her whole arm and hand in big motions.  I wave back.  The wave becomes contagious and every person on our pew eventually joins in. Our spirits are lifted.

After worship, I move directly to my friend who has cancer and I hug him to welcome him back to church.

He says through a broad smile, “It is good to be back home.”  I am surprised by my own emotions and all I can do is touch my heart with my hand.  I reach out and touch his chest with my other hand for a few seconds.  My voice catches in my throat, “I’ve been praying for you.”  He responds with a “thank you.”

No other words are needed.

Today I experienced God’s presence through my adult friend, and through an adorable two year old girl who is adopted and loves to greet others with a friendly wave.

And I am thankful for God’s adoption, by grace, of me too.

I wonder what God’s face will look like tomorrow?

12 Comments

  1. Jerry Jacob

    Malcolm,

    Thank you for this reflection. To say you squeezed my heart would be a gross understatement. I pray Jimmy, Rodney and Lauren all get to see this and know how they have touched so many by their love of God.

  2. Malcolm

    Jerry, your words mean a lot to me. You know what it is like to see God’s face in the lives of others. Thank you for being part of our faith community.

    Peace,
    Malcolm

  3. Mary Tittle

    My daughter-in-law is an interpreter for school children who are deaf. She had the opportunity recently to work with a young child that had been adopted from China. She went to a local Baptist Church, where Scott Guffin is pastor, to meet the child. She immediately fell in love with her adorable smile & loving heart.

    We have a lot of elderly members at the church I attend & they are such an inspiration to me. They are on walkers & canes but they come into the sanctuary with a smile on their face & love in their hearts. I look forward to all the hugs on Sunday morning.

  4. Edna Shurden Langley

    Thanks so much, Malcolm. Caused me to recollect that wonderful quote of Gandhi…”If you don’t find God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking for him further.”

  5. Malcolm

    Mary, thank you for sharing about your daughter-in-law’s experience and yours as well. If we’re not careful we will miss God’s presence right in front of us, won’t we?

    Peace,
    Malcolm

  6. Malcolm

    Edna, I love that quote! Thanks for sharing it.

    Malcolm

  7. lauren

    Thank you Malcolm for your beautiful writings. We have indeed seen the face of God throughout our 4 year journey to adopt our sweet daughter. She has brought us blessings beyond belief. We could not have anticipated the overwhelming touch of the Holy Spirit when she was put into our arms.

    In Him,
    Lauren

  8. Malcolm

    Dear Lauren,

    Your daughter is already a blessing to your family and to those of us who simply see her at church. The children shall lead us, and your daughter has already taught me about God in new ways by simply being herself.

    Thank you for sharing your family with our church family,
    Malcolm

  9. Laura Siriani

    Malcolm – Thank you for this lovely piece. I’ll carry it with me this week as a reminder that those daily human connections are meant to be meaningful. Sometimes we do forget!

  10. Malcolm

    You are welcome Laura! Thanks for reading along.
    Malcolm

  11. Ann McGraw

    Malcolm, I have experienced God’s grace to me in the last few days by His bringing a young woman from Denmark into our home for a visit. (My husband met her while serving with NATO in Kosovo.) She is leaving today to return to Denmark. She has grown up without a relationship with God. We have talked to her about God’s grace, but mostly have just tried to live it out by loving her. We have given her a Bible and are praying that God’s seed of grace planted in her will be watered by someone else in her life and it will become a fruitful tree. Please say a prayer for Monica!

  12. Malcolm

    Ann, I have no doubt that in the way you love her will make the difference. Love is an international language.

    Peace to you,
    Malcolm

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