In the midst of miracles and wonders,
great truths and small ponderings,
Jesus asked at least once
whether the gathered throngs
tagged along for heaven’s truest dishes
or only for the loaves and fishes.
At the Community Church
on a recent Lord’s Day morning,
two sets of siblings,
too young to give thought
to others’ suspicions,
waited impatiently for the snacks
that are usually set out
at the back of the sanctuary
and grabbed the pouches of juice
while the box was still being emptied.
They wandered around the front
until Pam signaled them over
beside her at the lectern,
and they stood there together
at the top of the sanctum step
for the opening song.
I studied for a moment
hair unwashed and uncombed,
nylon jacket sleeves too long for his arms,
dirt and leaves caked to the sides of his shoes,
nervous smile as he looked out
at fifty strangers standing and singing
The Joy of the Lord.
I thought about my own discomfort
and then about:
the children who came to Christ,
publicans and sinners,
cups of cold water,
“the least of these”
and how pleased heaven must be
when the children of the poor
are welcomed to help themselves
to the snacks at the back of the church
and to the Feast of Fellowship
shared at the front.