Over a decade ago, I led my very first nursing home service. At that time, I was still a seminary student. I was anxious enough to have do something like this all by myself. But little did I know it would be an unforgettable experience for a different reason.
As soon as I began the service and without interruption until I was finished, a male resident with a pronounced voice sat over by the window and repeated his confession over and over again. He said, “There is no God.” And he said it an uncountable number of times between invocation and benediction.
Today, I guess it all came full circle. As I began a bible study at our local nursing home, a lady in the back began to sing, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so, little one to him belong, we are weak but he is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.”
Throughout the bible study, every time I took a second to breath or think, she sang out again singing that song as a antiphon to the psalm that I was teaching. And when I decided to engage her in conversation, she gave a simple yet profound confession of faith. “Jesus is with us. He always loves us. We do not always love him, but he always loves us. He always forgives us. Don’t take Jesus away from me.” At that point I had to confess to her, “You are preaching a better sermon than me.” I was distracted. She was focused.
I was talking about learning to number our days in order to be made wise. I was talking about valuing eternal things over temporal things. I was teaching it. She was doing it. Only one thing was on her mind. Only one thing mattered. Jesus was with her forgiving and loving her.
Was it distracting? You bet. But a far more blessed distraction than, “There is no God” yelled out a window. Many might have heard nothing from this lady except evidence of a failing mind that had lost its sense of tact. I saw a faith that could not be silenced, a faith nurtured from infancy to old age. Out of the mouth of babes. Yes. Out of the mouths of those again reduced to such simplicity by the assault of age. You bet. They sing the same song to the same Jesus. God be praised. Jesus is always with us. The Bible tells me so.