I’m blessed, at this point in my ministry, to be serving a number of smaller congregations. One of the many benefits of this ministry is that every worship service feels very cozy and intimate. I get to make eye contact with everyone throughout the service.
In one of these congregations, one of my lovelies is getting to be a bit more forgetful. While still vibrant and loving, this person would no longer be categorised as a ‘spring chicken’. So, we adapt. One example: being able to look out and make eye contact, I’m able to tell when it’s taking a bit longer for this person to find the right page, and so we just have an extra 2-3 seconds pause.
It’s subtle enough to show for full inclusion by all members, while no one even noticed.
Or so I thought.
It turns out, that extra pause was noticed. By the person who does the music. Who sits in front of my aging, slowing lovely. The response: we now have an extra 2-3 seconds pause once hymns are announced before the music starts to play. In those seconds, the music person is looking at me, waiting for that subtle smile or nod to indicate that everyone is literally on the same page.
It’s a small thing, a few seconds. It’s a simple thing, and had never been discussed. But in my opinion, it’s also a big thing, for all the right reasons.
It’s big because it shows that the people in the community are looking out for one another, being fully present to those around them.
It’s big because it shows that the people are willing to adapt to one another’s needs without making it an issue.
It’s big because these needs didn’t need to be explained.
It’s big because no one else has even mentioned it.
It’s big because it shows the dignity and love that we all want to receive.
It’s big because I suspect the music person wouldn’t even consider it a big deal; I can almost hear the “it’s just what you do!” coming from their lips.
It’s big, because it’s exactly what Christian communities are meant to do, how we are meant to serve one another.
It’s big, because it’s small and simple and oh so significant. It delights me how something so simple as 2-3 seconds can be so big a deal. And it challenges me to wonder what other small opportunities might become big deals, when we’re able to recognise them.