“The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” (John 1:14, The Message)
Once a month, throughout the year, the deacons of Wampum Presbyterian Church visit a nursing home in the region. Call it a traveling tabernacle of smiles and songs, whose liturgical paraphernalia is simple. A box of songbooks is lugged in from one of their cars. Deacon types, after a Tuesday’s worth of work, gather in a stuffy rec room with broad smiles on their faces. Residents of the home are soon wheeled in like royalty. Greetings are offered in the name of Jesus. And then songs are sung — and not those new-fangled songs, either. The good ones. “In the Garden.” “Amazing Grace.” “Jesus Loves Me.” They sing, and sing, and sing some more. For some in the room, Anna Warner’s familiar words seem to be the only time they move their lips. Others just hum along, eyes closed. Later, a deacon rises to offer a tender reflection on March’s St. Patrick’s day, putting a nice gospel twist on the proverbial rainbow and its pot of gold: “God gives us rainbows,” she says, “to remind us of his promises.”
Although there may not be a pot of gold at the end of this evening, the burdens of advanced age — loneliness, isolation, loss of faculty — have surely been lessened just a bit for all concerned. And that is something. What’s more, they’ll be back, these Wandering Wampums. If not next month, soon enough. Songbooks and all.
How are you moving into the #neighborhood?