This week is Vacation Bible School at Southland. I love Vacation Bible School. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share the stories of our faith with our children so that they can begin to grasp how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is for them and for others. I love that VBS is a chance for me to be reminded of that love as well. No matter our age we need such reminders and I was blessed to be given one this week. It happened when Matt, our youth minister, brought his six month old little girl, Finley into the office. As you would expect, work quickly came to a halt as we all gathered around Finley and made fools of ourselves. Finley smiled and cooed and delighted in us as we delighted in her. A precious, grace-filled moment.
The next morning, I came across a passage in one of Kathleen Norris’ writings that put that holy moment in a new light. She spoke of a similar occasion in an airport when a baby was entertaining a group of strangers with his smiles. She noted how the baby seemed to erupt in delight anytime “he recognized a human face, no matter whose it was, no matter if it was young or old, pretty or ugly, bored or happy or worried-looking.” In an unusual twist, she then compared the way this infant indiscriminately delighted in another’s humanity with the way God must look at us. God looks at our faces so that he might delight once more in those he has made and called good.
Norris goes on to encourage, “And as Psalm 139 puts it, darkness is nothing to God, who can look right through whatever evil we’ve done in our lives to the creature made in the divine image. . . I suspect that only God, and well loved infants can see this way.” We’ve grown old in our sin, as G.K. Chesterton once put it. And in our old age we judge one another upon external appearances and past offenses. But God, who is sinless and pure, is eternally young. And like Finley, God continues to look at us and truly see our humanity, his image, and it makes him smile with joy.
For the LORD takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with salvation - Psalm 149:4.