Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Pastoral Pings ~ The Sparkle of Love for Children of All Ages

          The past decade has left me feeling as if I am sandwiched between walking with adults dealing with childhood trauma, and walking with children as they begin their journey through the good and bad experiences of life. Working with children in our family daycare has opened my eyes to the ways that adults have been affected by the early years of the human journey. Working with adults as a pastor has helped me appreciate the necessity of getting it right with the children in our care.

          Lately, I have been captivated by the imagery of what has been described as the “sparkle of love” in someone’s eyes. I can identify with the joy that we give and receive when this is the way we relate to each other. It is now constantly on my mind to generate this kind of joyful love in my home, church, daycare, and community.

          While the specific description of this sparkling-look has only recently been imprinted on my heart, one of my early lessons in this regard took place during our first year of operation as a daycare. At the time, we had two babies around the one-year-old mark, and would often take them for walks in our double stroller.

          On one occasion, we were out for a walk on a sunny, crisp, wintry morning. Because it was so bright, I was wearing my sunglasses. When we made one of our stops, I bent down to show my smiling face to the two children. As I looked into the eyes of the little girl, I realized that she was showing no response of facial recognition whatsoever. However, as soon as I pulled my sunglasses down so that she could see my eyes, her face lit up as an expression of how happy she was to see me.

          Even after a decade, I can still feel the wonder of realizing how much we communicate through our eyes. I can see why adults carry long-standing trauma because of the way significant people looked at them, or the way the sparkle of love was withheld. I can see why this unmet need for love can cause painful sin-problems when the sparkle ignited the wrong kind of flame.

          At the same time, I can see how the family of God can grow in the experience of God’s love, joy and peace so that our hearts begin to feel the warmth of love that is after God’s own heart, and our eyes begin to sparkle with love for one another. I can see how we can give children a better starting place than many of us adults have experienced. I can also see how the sparkle of love in the eyes of children can have a profound healing effect on the little ones looking through the eyes of adult bodies.

          Because of this imagery of the sparkle of love in people’s eyes, I have wondered how the Bible takes off God’s sunglasses so we can see such a look on his face. We know that God is love, and that those who have faith in Jesus Christ are his beloved children. We know that the Old Covenant blessing on God’s people was, The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26). There had to be some way people could envision God’s face and countenance expressing his love, joy, and peace.

          One of the descriptions of God that has captivated my new heart is where Paul tells us that we have been given, “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”[1] This tells me that Jesus’ eyes show us the sparkle that radiates from the invisible Father who has loved us with an everlasting love. Through such words as this, I feel the fulfillment of Jesus’ declaration, These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”[2]

          My thanks also to those who have taken off their sunglasses in very vulnerable ways so that I could see the sparkle of love in their eyes as well. This story is my smile in return.

© 2014 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] II Corinthians 4:6
[2] John 15:11

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