Several weeks ago I mentioned the Chotki I had received from a reader in Rumania. How our Orthodox brothers and sisters use this as a meditative tool when reciting the “Jesus Prayer.” I have been wearing it to not only keep Jesus in the forefront of mind and heart but also as a reminder of the brother who sent me the gift.
Every week I go pick up my granddaughter at school when she has early release. Her parents work so I help out. Actually I cherish the time. Why? Well when she gets in the car I hear about her day, the ups, the downs, the thrills of learning something new. A real treat for a grandpa.
I always stand in the same place under the shade of a tree. This time I noticed an elderly man staring at me. Obviously he was there for the same reason as me so I smiled and nodded. He immediately came over.
With a slight accent he said, “You are wearing a Chotki.” I started to tell him the story of why but he didn’t even stop for a breath. He quickly said, “Oh Father would you pray for me and our family?”
Now he had made some assumptions about this similar older man, with a white beard and wearing an obvious orthodox braid. He had jumped to a conclusion about who and what I was and am. Several thoughts went through my protestant head but I put them aside to pause and acknowledge his request.
So right there in front of the school. To the shock of some and the obvious discomfort of others I placed one hand on his bowed head and the other on his shoulder and we prayed. I prayed for him personally, I asked for our Savior’s blessings on his family, for the little ones he had in his care.
That was a precious moment in my life. As two older men, fathers, grandfathers stood humbly together in a public place and asked for God’s love, care ad protection not only for our families but all the children in that school in that neighborhood. I thanked him, we hugged and walked with our little ones back to our cars.
John Wesley cried out, “We must act as each is fully persuaded in his own mind. Hold fast that which you believe is most acceptable to God, and I will do the same…It appears to me that forms of prayer are of excellent use, particularly in the great congregation. if you judge extemporary prayer to be of more use, act suitable to your own judgment…If thou love God and all (humanity), I ask no more. ‘Give me thine hand.'”
Dear Savior, in these moments I have heard your call to serve, to share and pause with another. O glorious call that awakens us to precious moments in our walk on this path. I am yours and yours alone. Amen.