A Moment of Grace at Maundy Thursday Worship

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Hebrews 12:13 NIV “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.

On Maundy Thursday a year ago, two persons connected with Jabez Ministries, which I lead, attended worship at LaGrave Ave CRC where my wife and I are members. Both persons are visually impaired, just in different ways.

Sarah is an alumna of Jabez and currently serves on the board of directors. She has a condition known as Lebers Congenital Amaurosis, which causes significant blindness, and is a violinist. Music makes up a very large part her life. She has committed many hymns and spiritual songs to memory.

Hailey is a current student at GRCC, a music major emphasizing in choir. She is also student leader and intern for Jabez Ministries. Needless to mention that music is important to her as well. Hailey is able to read large print, unlike Sarah, and uses the large print hymnal provided at our church.

As the service progressed, the lights gradually dimmed towards darkness as would happen in a Maundy Thursday service. Hailey had to pull the hymnal closer to keep reading and singing, while Sarah, being from a Methodist and Greek Orthodox background, was unfamiliar with some of the hymns of our tradition and was having some difficulties keeping up.

My wife and I began to notice that both Sarah and Hailey, with their heads close, nearly touching, were singing as Hailey was singing the words with her face nearly flush against the pages of the hymnal and Sarah’s right ear turned towards and quite close to Hailey’s face. Sarah was able to sing along to unfamiliar words as Hailey was leading her.

This was a remarkable moment of grace, when two sisters in the Lord, empathetic and understanding of each other’s need, moved wordlessly to meet that need in and for worship.

As I thought further, certainly as I write these words, the words of Jesus as found in Mark12:33 are very fitting: “To love God with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

Out of their love of the triune God, king of the universe, they aided each other in worship so that both could worship him with their neighbor.

A fitting example, as any, of the way the kingdom of God on earth is supposed to be. 

As we come to the conclusion of lent, here are some related verses to meditate and reflect on further:

Exodus 17:12 NIV When Moses' hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands upone on one side, one on the otherso that his hands remained steady till sunset.

Hebrews 11:21 NIV By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff.

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