There was a knock on my door at church yesterday sometime between the 8:30 and 11:00 worship services (also known as the Sunday school hour). Sometimes I’m in Sunday school, teaching a class or visiting, but yesterday I was in my study, doing a hasty re-write of the sermon.
There was a knock—two sharp raps followed by a dull thud.
I opened the door and found Julia Wass standing there, right about waist-level. Julia is in the second-grade Sunday school class, and she came to see me along with some of her classmates and their teacher, Larry West.
“Somerville!” Julia chirped, cheerfully (sometimes she calls me “Dr. Jim,” but I enjoyed this variation on the theme).
“Hi, Julia! What’s up?”
Mr. West handed me a piece of paper and I sat down and read it aloud. It was an announcement about a bake sale the second-graders are having next Sunday. Apparently there’s a woman in the neighborhood who can’t walk very well because the bones in her feet have shifted and she needs special, orthopedic shoes. The second-graders are trying to raise money to buy those shoes.
“We’ve been looking for a way to help out with KOH2RVA,” Mr. West explained, “and when we learned about Cheryl and her shoes the kids thought it would be a perfect project. It was their idea to have a bake sale.”
I was proud of them, and I told them so, but I was also proud of teachers who would try to help second-graders understand that they, too, could be part of our year-long, every-member mission trip, that in fact they should be. I told Mr. West so.
Later in the day I went running with the Monument Avenue 10K training team from First Baptist and Julia’s mom was one of the runners.
“Julia came to my office today,” I said.
“Oh,” she said. “Was it about the bake sale?”
“Yes,” I said.
And she acknowledged that she had seen the announcement, and had already started wondering how she would bake two dozen cookies with all that she has going on this week. She thought maybe Julia’s big sister could help.
I realized again that it’s one thing to have a good idea; another thing to bring it to completion. Lots of people have to get involved—sending out announcements, baking cookies, bringing them to church, rounding up customers, making the sales, counting the change. It’s not easy to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to Richmond, Virginia. But Julia and her classmates are already thinking about how surprised Cheryl will be when she opens that box and sees her new shoes. In that moment for them, and maybe even for the parents and teachers who helped out,
It will all be worth it.