I took my almost two-year-old to morning devotions at Good Shepherd today. You can imagine how well that went. My visions of him sitting happily and quietly in the corner so I could take in a good word were more like hallucinations.
Though he was well behaved, his little voice carried with the room’s wonderful acoustics, interrupting Pastor Joel with loud pronouncements of the colors of the rainbow. So we retreated to the narthex where he unloaded a sticker sheet and found a few leftover palms. “Can I smack mine on yours?!?”
But the music of a familiar Taizé chant carried through the doors: “Nothing can trouble, nothing can frighten. Those who seek God will never go wanting…” That song took me back to a journey to the US/Mexico border in late 2010, spending the night in a Catholic-run shelter for migrants. This was one of a few Spanish songs in our hymn book, and one that my guitar-toting friend could play, so several of us sang with thick accents in a language we only minimally understood.
Nada te turbe, nada te espante
[Nothing disturbs you, nothing frightens you]
Quien a Dios tiene, nada le falta
[Whoever has God lacks nothing]
Nada te turbe, nada te espanteSolo Dios basta
[God alone is sufficient]
I look back and can only wonder what the sojourners, arriving for the night, must have thought. With a critical eye, I think what hubris! What did we white, US 20-somethings know of trouble and fear, lack and sufficiency? Well, probably not much. But that didn’t seem to make the words any less meaningful. Several people gathered to listen; we joined a few of them for a delicious, home-cooked meal the sisters prepared. The young man next to me, not far from my age, had made more crossings that he could remember. I sat in the discomfort that by accident of birth, our lives were so very different.
Back in Jericho, I watch my son add his favorite sticker—the glittery french fries—to the Palm Sunday mural in the Narthex, right on top of a piece of felt a crowd member is waving toward Jesus. That’s about right, I think. A broken song in the desert, a cherished token being lifted in praise. Sometimes what we have to offer seems to pale in comparison to what is really needed, but is it not better to offer what we have than nothing at all?
I suppose I heard a good word after all.
May we sojourn on,