My church this past Sunday celebrated its 70th anniversary. It was a good production, my wife leads our music and it was rather inspired if I say so myself. I witnessed something, though, that really stood out. Many people showed up who were no longer active members, either pastors who had moved on to other churches or the elderly in shut-in situations who were sought out for this event or who had moved off to other towns but made the drive in.
One of these was a man, now well into senility, who once was a wonderful singer. He made a habit, for many years, of visiting shut-ins and nursing homes to sing. Someone whispered in my wife’s ear that he would love to be invited to sing, but wouldn’t put himself forward, so she went to him and asked if he would like to sing, an invitation he gladly accepted.
Now, in our church, as in many churches near military installations, there are two, broad categories of parishioners. There are those like my wife and I, transients, there for 2-3 years at the most. And then there are the “locals”, ex-military who have retired to the area, or just folks for whom that town is home. That unique situation allowed me to see something Sunday I might not have otherwise recognized.
There I sat at the computer, my job is to flip the slides on the overhead and otherwise be my wife’s roadie, and this elderly man got up to sing. His palsy was so bad my wife had to hold the hymnal he was singing from for him. But he sang strongly, with a pure tone. He must once have been a wonder to hear. But the real beauty, for me, was to look at the “locals”. Those who had known him in his prime. Not a dry eye. For them, this was a diamond moment. Diamond moments are those rare, precious moments that stick in our memory, that cause our soul and this world to connect intimately, if briefly. For the locals this one moment was a distillation of all the beauty that this man had provided over a lifetime, a fitting tribute and an unexpected honor.
Life is often short and brutal. It sure as hell isn’t fair. Horror, injustice wait around every corner. But, once in a wonderful while, God offers us a diamond moment. A touchstone that re-ignites our souls. Cherish them. Hoard them like dragon’s gold in your hearts and bring them out from time to time to remind you what this world CAN be.
I wish I could recall all my diamonds. So many have slipped away, or are caught up in images or sensations too difficult to describe. I want to be able to bequeath these diamonds to my children and grandchildren, to give them the history of our family that really matters. Most important, I want to give them the awareness so they can capture their own diamonds, rather than get mired in the muck of the mundane that leads down into despair.
What are your diamonds? What diamonds are you creating for others? Take some time and let God really show you His world and those in it…