When I was a child, I attended the church in our small town. When I say, the church, I mean the only church in our small town. When I say our small town church was small, you might wonder exactly how small?
Our church was (is) so small, we didn't have our own preacher, we shared one with the neighboring town.
Our church was (is) so small, we had a piano in the church, but no piano player. One of the ladies in the church would find someone to play the hymns and she would tape them on her little cassette recorder. During the service, she would cue up the hymn and then fast forward to the next hymn. The preacher had to stay on schedule or we would all have to wait until the hymn was cued.
Our town was (is) so small, that on 4-H Sunday, the day that our 4-H club would attend one of the member's church services, our preacher would be so excited that he could hardly speak. He actually had an audience!
While the church was small, it was filled with spirit. The light shining through the stained class windows and the simple alter decorations will forever stay in my mind. It was the place that first taught me "God." And, to me, as a young child, God was rays of sunshine through clouds. I knew this because it was a common image on the front of our church programs. All through the service, I would look at this large, too good to be true nature photo with scripture and think that this sight must be God, right? This image is still symbolic for me.
Later, I came to a prayer - Peace and Light. I pray this prayer often when I am wrapped in fear, grief or sorrow. Or, on those really powerful moments when all three emotions join together. Moments like those at the side of my grandparents' beds before they each passed. I also say this prayer when a loved one needs strength. I prayed this prayer in earnest when my brother gave the eulogy at my Uncle George's funeral. Peace and Light. Strength to endure. Strength to get through.
When I say this prayer, I think of the rays of sunshine through clouds. The prayer and this image fit together so perfectly for me.
I am saying this prayer now as my husband and his family say good-bye to their mother, mother-in-law, and grandmother. My prayer for us is for Peace and Light in a time of grief and sorrow...and a time of celebrating, remembering, and circling together as a family.
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