Once upon a time, a scared ten-year-old girl rode a church bus to attend a Sunday School class at a church she’d never visited all because a stranger knocked on her door and invited her the week before. Her mother didn’t want her to go at first, she was against “organized religion” but the little girl didn’t give up and finally her mother allowed her to visit but just once–as long as she took her little sister.
Wearing thrift store dresses and scuffed shoes the girls went to Sunday School for the first time in their lives. Scared to be separated, the teacher allowed the sisters to sit together for their first class. They held hands under the table as the teacher and her helper told a story about a man who went fishing and caught a fish with money in its mouth. When the story was over, they sang songs, clapped their hands as they paraded around the room and then ate vanilla cookies and drank fruit punch. They went home with glued pictures and little bibles.
Wearing thrift store dresses and scuffed shoes the girls went to Sunday School for the first time in their lives. Scared to be separated, the teacher allowed the sisters to sit together for their first class. They held hands under the table as the teacher and her helper told a story about a man who went fishing and caught a fish that had money in its mouth. When the story was over, they sang songs, clapped their hands and they paraded around the room with cymbals. They went home with pictures of a colored fish with a plastic coin glued in his mouth. And little bibles, pink bibles with gold letters on them.
The next week, the sisters put on those same thrift store clothes, took their pink bibles and went back to Sunday School. Mom didn’t say no because they’d behaved so well all week, she said. When they arrived they heard more fantastic stories about a man named Jesus who had a “heart so big it broke for the whole world.” The little girls couldn’t imagine having a heart that big but they liked hearing about him. Each week, they eagerly went home to tell their Mom and school friends about what they heard. This went on for months until the girls had to move, leaving behind the church, the bus and the Sunday School teacher they loved so much.
The sisters weren’t allowed to visit church in the new place. There were no buses to take them to church and their mother worked on church days. They didn’t know anyone who went to church and nobody knocked on their door.
But they never forgot what they’d heard. Even though they didn’t understand all the words in their little pink bibles, they knew the words in red were words spoken by the man who’s heart broke for the whole world.
- And that little girl was me. And that first bus trip was over forty years ago.
Thank you, bus drivers for carrying my little sister and I to church.
Thank you, outreach team for inviting us and visiting us more than once.
Thank you, Sunday School teacher for telling us about the fish and the man and all the other things you taught us.
Thank you, Sunday School helper for allowing me to help pass out cookies each week.
I may not remember your names but I will always remember your love.
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