It was the kind of August afternoon where there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. The sun bathed everything in soft, golden light, but the air was cool enough to sit in its rays without baking. The park was busy on this lovely day. Kids were swinging, digging in the sand and climbing all over the big castle-shaped wooden play structure.
Wade climbed onto a platform at the top of the jungle gym and belted out the A-B-Cs song at the top of his lungs. He isn’t shy and never wastes an opportunity to play to an audience. “…Next time won’t you sing with me.” He finished, and the couple of kids watching him started to turn away. “No! Wait! I have more songs!” He raised his hands gesturing at them to stop.
Then Wade began to sing Jesus Loves Me.
“Jesus loves me this I know…”
I admit for a moment I worried that in this age of over-charged, over-heated political and religious debate an offended parent might stand up and tell him to stop. But no one did.
Then from the balance beam a little girl’s voice floated over, soft and hesitant, as she started singing along with Wade.
“For the Bible tells me so.”
Wade’s brother David joined in loud and confident, and the girl raised her voice spurred on by the boys’ enthusiasm.
“Little ones to Him belong…”
And then the girl’s brother made the trio a quartet.
“They are weak, but He is strong.”
More kids joined in. A few parents looked up from their smart phones.
“Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me.”
By the end of the chorus eight kids who didn’t know each other were gathered around the jungle gym singing together. No inhibition. No fear. No shame. Just children joyfully singing a simple song of simple truth.
“Yes, Jesus loves me. For the Bible tells me so.”
Maybe a child at the park needed to know that someone — Jesus — loved them.
Maybe a parent needed a reminder of the child-like faith they once had.
Maybe on that glorious, God-given, late summer day Jesus just needed to be praised.
The sunlight filtered through the trees and formed a hazy, yellow gauze around the kids, giving the impression they were glowing. It only added to the beauty of the moment and magnified the unexpected reverence.
The song ended, and the kids scattered, climbing up the structure and heading for the swings as if nothing special happened. Wade had his fill of the spotlight and exited stage left down the slide.
Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” And they did. A whole crowd came in a most unusual way, hanging on the monkey bars, lifting up their little voices as gifts to the King. And I’m sure He looked down and smiled.