Simple Acts of Nurturing Love
Katie Harmon-McLaughlin of Sacramento, CA, USA
Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. -Colossians 3:14-15
As a new mother, I am experiencing faith community in a new way. I am suddenly, sharply attuned to the ways people engage with children as valuable members, and even ministers. I watch in awe as grown women and men stoop low to honor the worth of my daughter. I am now personally aware of the multitude of emotions that can erupt when a screaming baby prompts a swift exit during worship. I am grateful for the wise leaders who urge me to release my anxiety over what might happen and trust that the community loves my daughter and wants her to be present exactly as she is.
Emma was blessed in our home congregation, but she continues to receive blessing wherever we go. One Sunday when traveling to a different congregation, an evangelist I admire approached me while I held her and began to speak words of blessing to her. He placed his hand tenderly on her head and uttered simple words of deep love. It was spontaneous and genuine, an act of nurturing that filled my entire being with peace.
Watching how my faith community interacts with Emma, I begin to remember my own childhood and how important each simple act of nurturing love was in my life. We don’t always get it right, but often we do. We spend so much time wondering if the worship will go right or where God is leading us into the future. Sometimes we miss the sacred opportunities of living in love-love unfolding right before us and the point of our gathering in the first place.
In a time when many are wondering if the church is still relevant, I bask in gratitude each time someone expresses the value of loving community to my daughter. I feel a deep yearning for every child in the world to be seen and loved in this way. What a difference it could make if we strived to simply see each other as God’s beloved children and approached each other with this same tender, compassionate care. I pray it will make a difference in my daughter’s life as she continues to be surrounded by a community who loves her as she is and creates the space for her to grow with God into her fullest, truest, most beloved self.
“Every breath is a resurrection” (Gregory Orr).
Breath of Life
Take a few moments right now to breathe. Simply observe each inhale and exhale. Pay attention to how it feels in your body. Notice the rise and fall of your chest. Notice how you breathe even when you aren’t thinking about it, how your body instinctively knows how to keep you alive without your thought or effort. In this moment, you are alive. Receive this awareness as an expression of divine grace. In joy or despair, loss or celebration, your body continues breathing. How is your breath a resurrection this day?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.