Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hands Outstretched

Lately I have been thinking about a little boy I used to know.

I didn't know him very well.  I knew his older sister, because she came to confirmation classes.  And I knew his little sister, because she used to come to church and Sunday school by herself.  Everybody called her "the church girl" because she seemed to like it.  People teased her, a little.

The family lived on the edge of town.  You could walk in to church if you wanted to, and the girls wanted to, sometimes, without their parents.  Their parents didn't come.

The boy came too, less frequently.

His favorite service?  Maundy Thursday.  It wasn't a popular service with children, as you might imagine.  He stuck out, especially when he came up to kneel for communion.  I asked him once what it was about the service that he liked.  He just shrugged his shoulders and said he sort of liked having church at night.

At one point all three of the children expressed an interest in being baptized.  So we got them all baptismal sponsors, gave them some instruction and they all got baptized one Wednesday evening in Lent.

Not long after I left I heard that he was killed in an accident.  He was 14 years old.

Now, this is my most vivid memory of him:  kneeling in front of the altar on Maundy Thursday, his hands outstretched.

I imagine him there, at the table where we are all reconciled to God and to one another, where we will all be gathered up together, lowly lifted up, hungry fed, outcast welcomed.

Hands outstretched.

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