Signposts: Daily Devotions

While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”
—Matthew 26:26

I met a retired Presbyterian pastor in Austin recently, Bob Lively. He gave me a copy of his book, Waiting for Bluebonnets: Letters to My Daughter About God's Love.

There's a story he tells from when he was four years old. He discovered that his grandmother's doorbell sounded exactly like her telephone. That was a temptation. He could stand on the front porch of her house, ring the doorbell, and then watch her answer the telephone with a pleasing Mississippi drawl. “Good mawnin',” she would say to the dial tone before he scampered away to hide in a hedge for the next several minutes.

On his fourth attempt at playing this trick, he sensed an ominous shadow come upon him from behind as he pointed his small finger toward the doorbell. He whirled about to see his grandmother standing above him and smiling. Without a word, she picked him up and carried him into the living room, where she placed him in her lap as she sat in a rocker for what felt like an eternity. He figured he deserved any punishment she chose to mete out, including a swift swat to his backside.

But no spanking arrived to bring him into line. She only rocked and hummed what he would years later come to recognize as “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” After she decided that he had been calmed sufficiently by her soothing hymn, she lifted him again with great effort, and carried him all the way to the kitchen.

There she placed him on a wooden counter and raised her arms to a high shelf. She retrieved a large crock filled with more sugar cookies than he knew existed. She walked to the icebox, from which she lifted a half-gallon jug of cold milk from a shelf. After filling a glass, she handed it to him along with two cookies and said something like, “Take, eat, this is for you.”

In that moment, his grandmother taught him more about the true nature of God than anyone had in the first four years of life, or for that matter, Bob says, anyone has in the ensuing decades. When he was finished with the last bite of cookie followed by the final drop of milk, she squeezed him gently in her lap and said, “Now, Bobby, don't go ringing my doorbell anymore.”

He calls that his first communion.

(Bob Lively, Waiting for Bluebonnets, p. 55)

Embrace us with your infinite Love, O God, that in your arms we may be known and healed. Amen.

Copyright ©2005 Lowell E. Grisham.