Technology does wonderful things. On Sunday it brought a friend to church.
She had a cough for awhile, went to the doctor one day and started chemo the next. Stage four lung cancer. Life changes on a dime.
Someone brought an iPad and connected with her on Skype so she could be part of worship time at church. As she could see the service, a few of us within eyeshot of the iPad, could see her.
Sweet smile, bright eyes, a pretty scarf, she looks around, taking it all in. The singing begins and her lips move with the words.
O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder, Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made; I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder; Thy power throughout the universe displayed. Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art.
She’s sick, really sick from the chemo and can’t risk being around germs. She’s watching the service, and I really should be, too, but still I steal glances. She’s seated in a chair at a desk in her living room.
A pretty young face leans in from the left side of the screen and kisses my friend on the cheek. It’s her daughter. I heard she and her brother were flying in from the Pacific Northwest. They must be here. A morning kiss. How lovely.
Our church, not one to be bound by seasons, moves to a hymn most consider a Christmas carol.
When I am a seeker, I seek both night and day; I seek the Lord to help me, And He shows me the way; Go, Tell It On The Mountain, Over the hills and everywhere.
I steal another glance and she’s singing along. Clearly she is enjoying Sunday morning at home with 600 of her closest friends
The pretty head again leans in from the left, hair falling over her young face. Another kiss.
Oh, I see.
That first kiss hadn’t been a good morning kiss, and neither was this one. It was an I Love You kiss, an I’m Glad I’m Here kiss, an I’m Glad You’re My Mom kiss.
We’re singing the old standbys today. There is great comfort in the songbook of generations.
Where doubt and darkness once had been, They saw Him and their hearts believed. But blessed are those who have not seen, Yet, sing hallelujah.
Our friend is fighting hard against the darkness of cancer. She’s determined to win and has an unflappable quality about her. She will tell you it is the peace of Christ, the peace that passes understanding.
It’s greeting time when people lean over pews, dart down aisles, shake hands, exchange hugs and say hello. People race to the iPad to lean in before the lens and say hello. She’s grinning from ear to ear amid a flurry of virtual hugs and kisses.
How marvelous and beautiful and wonderful that microchips, wireless connections and tiny cameras let someone who could feel alone and isolated experience the fullness of community.
Maybe if I scratch my nose, I can wipe away the tears at the same time.