In June 2014 we joined Catholics from Bethlehem to celebrate mass in the Cremisan Valley. The view from the Cremisan Valley is beautiful and was a rare remaining green space for the Christian community. In summer 2015 the trees were bulldozed and a separation wall is now under construction.
From this hillside dotted with olive trees and dried brush, I tried to focus on the beautiful liturgy; yet my eyes were drawn to these two precious girls, who drifted from the congregation.
They carefully picked a few unripe olives from a nearby tree before perching themselves on a low stone wall. The girls sat facing each other. The older girl showed the younger how to scrape an olive on the stone to extract oil and pulp to use as “ink” to draw on the stones. I watched for quite a while, as the girls also created a game with the olives. Their innocent play took me back to the years of my childhood, half way around the world and many years ago.
I used to delight in picking crab apples from the trees and “drawing” on the sidewalk with the juice oozing from the berries, crushed between my fingertips. I delighted in nature that God provided for my personal amusement. While “playing” with the stuff of God’s creation, I lost track of time and space; nothing mattered but the exploration at my fingertips. The gift of wonder and awe comes to children through the unstructured, accidental exploration of God’s creation.
Those girls had a holy encounter with the Living God, right alongside His True Presence being made known in the breaking of the bread. I love it how God touches each child throughout the world. All are precious in His sight.
“All good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.” James 1:17
Dear Lord, help us to see that all children around the world, born and unborn, are precious in your sight. Help us to be good stewards of these little ones.