On a recent Sunday in church, I was struck by the connections I noticed as I looked around the congregation. The town where we now live is south of the city in which I grew up, and north of the community where my husband and I lived and raised our children for the first twenty years of our marriage. So this place is now most definitely home, but has been for only the last twelve years.
That day I was sitting behind a friend from my college days. She has the voice of an angel and sang at both our own wedding years ago and that of our daughter and son-in-law just a few years back. She and her husband welcomed us into this church when we first moved here. Now we are in the same Sunday school class and book club, too. Our friendship has grown through the years.
I looked around and noticed the mother of a family with teenagers. That mother was my student when she was in sixth grade, the second year I taught. Her own mother was not part of her life then and so that young girl held a special place in my heart. Seeing her grown up and raising a family made me smile with thanksgiving.
Next I noticed the young family across the sanctuary. That father is the son of some of our good friends, and I was his Sunday school teacher when he was in second grade. That mother’s mother was our son’s preschool teacher years ago. Now they have three precious children, two of whom are students at the school where I teach. And this young family has taken a lead role in the mission work of our church. How thankful and proud I am to know them.
Our minister was my grandmother’s minister years ago, and he led her funeral service. His wife’s parents were good friends of my parents for many years. I can remember his wife’s brother’s captivating voice as he sang in the choir at our church years ago.
My church now is a different denomination from the one in which I grew up. When I told my mother of our decision to join this church, she replied, “There are many ladders to the same loft.” She knew, as do I, that our God readily receives the worship of all of His children.
Yes, it’s a small world after all. Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love.