There is something perched in our garage that my three year old grandson describes as 'amazing'. It is a wooden houseboat, almost finished, in the process of being built by my husband. Eighteen feet long and six feet wide, complete with windows, decks, sleeping area, 'bathroom' and kitchen, she sits, waiting patiently for July, when she will float down the Erie Canal and take us away from the world until September.
This little life adventure will take place as part of my husband's sabbatical...a three month rest from pastoral duties, from which we hope to return physically refreshed and spiritually renewed.
And so last Sunday morning, at the close of the service, my husband and I were called forward in order to receive a blessing from the congregation as we begin our sabbatical journey. I knew that this had been planned. I thought it was a beautiful idea. But what I didn't know is that the hands that were laid upon us would belong, not to adults, but to children.
They came hesitantly, a little shy, unsure about placing their hands on us as we knelt. But as we encouraged them, they surrounded us with grins, and chubby fingers, and an air of innocence and spirituality that I have seldom felt before. To my left, a little boy lightly placed his hand on my shoulder, smiled shyly, and whispered our names as the pastor started to pray.
And as I knelt at that altar, listening to the pastor's words, surrounded by these little ones, I thought about Jesus, and how he wanted to be surrounded by little ones too. And I thought about his words, and wondered if, when Jesus said let the little children come to me, was it really so that he could bless them, or was it so that they could bless him?
David and Glenys,
May God, who is present in sunrise and nightfall,
and in the crossing of the sea,
guide your feet as you go.
May God, who is with you when you sit
and when you stand,
encompass you with love
and lead you by the hand.
May God, who knows your path
and the places where you rest,
be with you in your waiting,
be your good news for sharing,
and lead you in the way that is everlasting,
with fair winds and following seas.