A buncha years ago, my groceries were sometimes bagged by Judy, a woman with short black hair, and the tell-tale features of Down syndrome on her face. I remember one day she was letting her mood direct her contact with my produce and bread, and it seemed to me they were getting short shrift. I remember feeling irritated with her, because MY produce and MY bread should only be treated with the utmost care. Right? Well, whatever. Then along came Kepler, and my understanding of and appreciate for Down syndrome changed dramatically. I guess Judy moved on because I didn't see her anymore. Until today.
This morning, I took Anna-Jessie to my mom's church at Mom's request. Her desire was for her entire extended family to be sitting in the second row at her church to celebrate this special day in the Christian calendar. Oh, I had plans for my entire family to be there, yes I did. And Gina was bringing her family, and Mindy was bringing Joelie. Our family would stuff a pew! Reality set in this morning, and long story short, Gina's family wasn't there, so it was just Mindy, Joelie, Anna-Jessie and myself. Mom's church is more traditional than Crossroads, but I know their music is awesome, having worked with the director at another church many years ago. Not to mention I know when my mother is excited about choral music, I tend to appreciate it as well.
And they sang . . .
The weight of sin, the sting of death Were swallowed up by righteousness Vanquished by the Son of God It was finished on the cross It was finished on the cross
Chorus And we rejoice in victory We lift our eyes to Calvary Before the battle has begun By Jesus’ blood it has been won It was finished on the cross
His gift of grace our heart betrays With urge to merit or repay We need not live to pay the cost For it was finished on the cross It was finished on the cross
And I sang it too! I couldn't help but sing along with every song as the music was stirring, the chord progressions were harmonious, and the message was pure energy.
Suddenly, in the middle of the song, I noticed Judy. Right in the center of the front row. Singing these words with all her heart. Raising her hands in worship and praise. And it touched my heart so deeply. To think that a women who has the disability she has, with experiences in her life no doubt of being rejected and sidelined, has the opportunity to stand with other Christians and sing her heart out, affirming that her battle has been won. Tears rolled down my face as I considered how much love Christians give to others, how they include the marginalized and welcome them in with open arms.
Later, when talking with Mom about this, she told me that Judy actually sings in a monotone voice, yet she is welcomed into the choir. I love that.
I'm glad I saw Judy again. I didn't have a chance to talk with her today, but I was thankful for the opportunity to see her in a different light, one more loving and accepting than the one I had the first time I saw her many years ago. Again, I am thankful for Kepler. Again, I love the journey I am on.