I am SO sorry for what happened last Sunday! With the many churches under your jurisdiction, I am fully aware that it is an honor for you to come to visit my church. I also recognize that, when you do come, you bring a message that needs to be heard. Therefore, I must apologize that I was completely distracted from listening to you. It was not because your message was irrelevant or poorly delivered, although since I wasn’t paying attention, I cannot attest to its relevancy or to the effectiveness of your preaching style. Rather, it was because a child that I invited to attend Sunday stole the show. I never intended that my Granddaughter would overshadow you and reduce your message to a mere afterthought. I truly wish that this had not happened, but it did.
Bishop, you have never been full of yourself. You are a humble and compassionate person, a man who does not need to be the star of the show. Nevertheless, I still apologize. It was my responsibility to create the right atmosphere for you to challenge and inspire us. I failed. I hope you might render me some grace, even though I am not deserving of it.
Bishop, may I ask a favor? Can you explain why I totally lose contact with what is going on around me whenever my beautiful Granddaughter Samantha is nestled in my arms? Holding her, I feel as if I have ascended into heaven! Sunday in church, I rarely took my eyes off her. Even when I was called upon to perform my duties during the worship service, I was just going through the motions. Bishop, what is it about little children that takes our breath away? Is it their beauty and innocence? Is it because they remind us of the miraculous wonder of God’s creative genius? Is it because they cause our hearts to instantly overflow with love and joy? Whatever the reason, don’t you think we need a whole lot more of what our children and grandchildren bring to our world? We desperately need more of the beauty, innocence and the “out-of-this-world” love and joy that Sammy and all of the precious little children of the world bring to us. Children may, on occasion, overshadow our message, but the love that they evoke in us lies at the very heart of how we experience God’s awesome and eternal love.
Bishop, even as I apologize, I also want to thank you. Thank you for telling me that no child has ever “messed up” one of your worship services. Thank you for being as “over-the-top” in love with kids as I am. That’s why I love you. And…it’s why God called you to be a Bishop of the church. Bishop, you demonstrated, once again, that it is not what we say or how effectively we perform on life’s stage that really matters. It is how we live and how we love.
Bishop, thanks for loving my Sammy!
John E. Holt, Cotuit, MA