While on retreat in Massachusetts a few weeks ago, I went to the local church, one I’ve never been to before. It was breathtaking with its cathedral-like spires and ornate altar. There were probably three hundred people at Mass. Not bad for an early Sunday morning.
Although there was so much to admire in the stunning stained-glass windows, it was the seven-year-old boy with bedhead that really got my attention.
At the sign of peace, he left the bench he shared with his grandparents and went pew by pew to shake hands with every person on our side of the church. When I say every person, I mean EVERY SINGLE ONE.
He was so intent on extending peace to all of us, I watched him stand in front of one woman for a solid two minutes, his hand extended the whole time. I know that’s not a long time in the grand scheme of things, but having watched this kid for a bit, I could hazard a guess he wasn’t used to standing still for that long.
He was relentless. Despite the priest continuing on with the Mass, this little boy wouldn’t give up or move on until this woman shook his hand. She must have been in la-la land because she seemed to be looking right through him. Just as I was about to stretch over three benches to tap her on the shoulder, she came back to earth, noticed him, and shook his hand. Once she received his sign of peace, he continued on his merry way with more people to bless.
That boy, bedhead and all, is Jesus. He came to earth to give us peace and won’t quit until we receive it. Whether we’re in la-la land, distracted by our own worries and issues, or standing at a distance, He’ll cross any divide to get to us, and He’ll wait for however long it takes for us to notice Him.
But like that little boy, He doesn’t grab our hand to fill it. He extends His, and waits. Meeting him half-way and receiving His peace is up to us.
When we do, Jesus lights up like the sun, just like that little boy did when that lady finally let him complete his giving. Witnessing that exchange continued the blessing by filling me to the brim with peace and joy.
Copyright 2018 Claire McGarry