The sun was rising over the horizon as we stood in the overlook. Fog was hovering all the trees, silhouetted through the vast treetops. It looked like a painted picture of greens, grays and blues. The sun was hidden behind some vast clouds. Each of the crevices looked to be filled with smoke. Fresh air and silence calmed my soul. Having my family with me on holy ground in southern Illinois always makes me feel relaxed and at peace.
It was Sunday morning, so we found a little church in a small town, settled amongst all the peach and apple orchards. As we began to enter the church a handsome young man, over 6 feet 4 inches tall, held the door open with a charming smile. Father greeted us all decked out in red with a big smile. A middle-aged woman was in her automatic wheelchair that served as her legs for she was paralyzed. Everyone touched her and greeted her with so much joy. We as visitors to this small church commenced to choose our pew.
The church and many individuals were also wearing red. This day was Pentecost Sunday, the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit. In front of us sat an older lady with a T-shirt on that said: “It is a poverty to kill a child so we can live the life we want.” (St. Mother Teresa) Next to her was an elderly woman with a cane — everyone made a point to greet her and make her feel so welcome. The music began. We sang, “We are one body and we are all God’s people.” Wow! The significance of this song at this church was wild.
As Mass proceeded, I noticed at Communion time, the lady that slowly and patiently led her blind husband up the aisle. A young boy let everyone know he was in church. He was so excited, most would have thought of him as a disturbance, but he was handicapped and adopted from another country. I could tell he was so full of joy.
The young gentleman that opened the door also served the Cup, along with an older man with long gray hair down his back. It was humorous to see the young man stand next to the priest, who was from South America and short of stature. It was like the young man was the Jolly Green Giant.
Behind us sat an interracial couple, both smiling as if they were on cloud nine. Then came the grandparents with their three grandchildren parading out of the pew. Each told the other to cross their arms to let the priest know they could not receive Communion. On the other side of the aisle was a mother holding her 1-year-old while she was teaching her 3-year-old the Sign of the Cross. In front of us was a beautiful young girl sat with her mother, who was a single parent. You could feel the connection between the two of them.
Behind us sat two women in dresses and veils to cover their head. They were bursting with joy when they were singing. Migrant workers from the orchards were in several parts of the church, along with one very beautiful pregnant lady. So many other married and single people filled the church — every one of them had their own stories.
Each of these lovely people were one person representing someone in society. Each had their place; each had their own story. I felt so privileged I was in this quaint little church and we all represented one body, we were many parts but all one body and all God’s people. It is interesting to know that if we all (all the churches) work as we are one body; we could accomplish great things.
So today I ask you to reach out to others in other churches or people in your own church that may not be in your circle of friends. Do not wait for them to reach out to you. If you do not attend a church, seek out a church to attend, make the first move to become a part of that one body in Christ. God has big plans for you to stand tall and camp in his house. He wants us to see beyond the fog and see the big beautiful picture.
Lisa Rexroat is a parishioner at St. Aloysius Parish in Dieterich.