"May you see the face of Christ on everyone you meet, and
May everyone you meet see the face of Christ in you."
These were the final words from the benediction given at the service for my sister-in-law's father. I sat in the pew, absorbing the words as people drifted slowly from the church, talking quietly or in silence. I didn't know if anyone else was carrying this profound blessing with them until my mom and I slipped into the back seat of the car. Being of Mother's heart, I should have known that she was thinking on it too.
"I remember Marguerite from Park Church," Mom said, referring to a lovely woman from the small, country church of my childhood. "She always had such a serene expression on her face; a look of peacefulness, love, contentment. And I wondered what message I was carrying around on my own." We continued to discuss it as my oldest sister turned the car towards a nearby restaurant.
"The Carriage Crossing" is located in the midst of a small community, very strong in its Amish and Mennonite heritage. Horse-drawn buggies whisk by at a lively gait carrying hatted men in black and lovely women in dresses and bonnets. It is like stepping back into a simpler and focused life.
Once seated we were greeted by our waitress; a young girl in a plain, gray dress that brushed her ankles, and a sheer, white cap. Though we were a party of ten, she moved about us with ease; her hands in practiced, lifelong expertise. But it was her face that captured me. I found myself entranced as she circled our table, taking orders, smiling. Her soft voice rose with an inner song as she spoke to each of us, and her beautiful smile shone through her eyes. She was grace and loveliness; her face glowing with a light from within.
I longed to take her picture, but a photograph would have been inappropriate, out of place and not allowed. Besides, how can you capture on printed paper a look that comes from the soul? It was a message, a gift, a witness of looking into the eyes of someone close to God. There in that restaurant, upon that sweet expression, I saw the face of Christ.
Through this journey may I continue to see it in the faces of others, but more importantly.....may I live the example that allows others to see it in mine.