Emily French is probably the first friend I made when my husband and I moved to Bartlesville, Oklahoma just over 5 years ago. I’m a very introverted and socially awkward person (although I am getting better!), and if it had been up to me by myself it may well have taken two or three years to make a good friend!

But if you know Emily, you know that she simply loves people, and she has a way of making you feel welcome and loved in her presence. She went out of her way to get to know me… why, I still don’t really know, ha! Maybe it was that my husband plays bass in the worship band she leads at church. Maybe it was that she found out I run a Knitting for Charity blog, and as she calls herself a “craftivist” (she loves to make jewelry and sell it for charitable fundraising purposes), she thought I was a kindred spirit.

Or maybe she just sensed that I may well have never made a friend, a real friend, at our church if I had been left to my own devices, and she thought that simply wouldn’t do.

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My Eyes Have Seen the Glory – a Sunday School Tale

Here’s a little Monday-morning encouragement for you.

As you may know, I lead children’s worship before Sunday school at our church. We call this our “Gathering Time.” This Sunday I had planned for us to sing along to a couple of YouTube videos and one song that we sang earlier this summer during VBS.

After we finished with the second of the songs from YouTube, another song (that I hadn’t planned on our singing) started playing before I had a chance to close the browser. That song was “Glory” by Common and John Legend. This is a song I found a couple of years ago and was so moved by it that I decided to play it for the children during Martin Luther King, Jr. Day weekend. I’ve since done so for the past 2 years.

It played for maybe a second before I hit the “pause” button, but the kiddos — many of whom had only heard the song once or twice during our Gathering Time — immediately perked their ears up. And they unanimously asked me to play the whole song for them.

A reminder: our Sunday School group is composed of K through 5th graders, with the attending short attention spans. I usually play upbeat, bouncy children’s worship songs because that’s what tends to get them most revved up and eager to sing and worship, as you can imagine. “Glory” is the opposite of upbeat and bouncy! It is a gorgeous song, powerful and soaring, but not at all the kind of song I would normally pick for a normal Sunday. Yet here they were, clamoring for that song.

I made the split-second decision to play it after our VBS song.

When the time came, I warned them that I was playing it because they had asked for it, and that they were not to talk over it or be disrespectful during it. In retrospect I don’t think I needed to. They were spellbound. A few made comments as it played, but nothing disrespectful. One of the children, a black boy that I’ve often babysat, told me his father would love this song. (I said “Yes, I’m sure he would!”)

I’m no rapper (ha!) so I didn’t bother trying to follow with the verses (though I couldn’t help speaking during the “My eyes have seen the glory” line), but I did sing the choruses. And I wasn’t the only one.

I’ve rarely been prouder of our kiddos than I was during and after that song. You never know what will strike a chord with a child at church, but clearly this song does just that. I have a feeling I might be receiving more requests for that song. And I’ll be happy to fulfill them as often as I can.

Just before the kids departed for their Sunday school lesson, the oldest kiddo there — a white boy — said to me, “I think Martin Luther King, Jr. would have something to say about what’s been going on lately.”

I didn’t have to ask him what he meant. I responded, “Yes, I think he would have. That’s another good reason for this song today.”

“Yeah,” he said.

For all the nonsense going on in our country over the past week — if not over the past several years, if not over the past several decades — I feel good about our future. These kiddos, they’re our future. And they have more love than you can imagine.

A Prayer for Easter

Thank you, Jesus.

Just: thank you.

Thank you for coming to Earth.

Thank you for opening your arms and inviting us all to come.

Thank you for showing that no one is hopeless.

Thank you for making the poor, the sick, the disabled, and the outcasts Your greatest priorities.

Thank you for looking into our hearts, knowing what lay within, and loving us anyway.

Thank you for being perfectly obedient. Even unto the greatest humiliation and abandonment. Even unto death, the cruelest and most horrific death imaginable.

Thank you for not staying dead.

Thank you for defeating death, for winning the final victory, for offering all of us hope for all eternity.

Thank you, Jesus.

Just: thank you.