A PLACE IN THE SUN ~
and IN THE SON
The air was unusually warm as we waited for the National Day of Prayer to begin. I knew it was going to be a warm day, that the sun would soon be beating down on us.
The crowd had gathered and sat down together, community participants joining hands and hearts to invoke God’s blessings on our nation that May Day. I was anxious for the activities to begin.
The program was just ready to start when an elderly African American man took the seat beside me on the front row, in seats reserved for participants. He was tall and slender. His clothes were immaculate, his tie tied perfectly in a Windsor knot. It was the late 1990s, but there was a vintage look of the 1970s.
His cane bore part of his weight, but he carried himself with the uprightness of an authority figure. It was the pride of his demeanor, which captured my attention-- his pride of taste, pride of propriety—but all without the air of a proud man.
His bony hands were large for his size, gnarled like the limbs of an old oak tree which has suffered through many stressful winters. Were they telling me of hard manual labor? His fingers were long. I had always heard that long fingers
meant one had an artistic bent. His fingernails were broad. Another old saying came to mind: broad nails were a sign of generosity. Truisms which could be applied to this old man? I would never know.
I pondered his age. What circumstances had incorporated such a refined quality into the life of this elderly gentleman? I couldn’t be certain. That is, until he prayed. As I sat pondering, his name was being called.
With a less than agile step, he steadied himself with his cane and moved to the microphone. When he gave the invocation, it was evident he was “standing on holy ground.” The crowd of mostly Christians was standing with him. We knew he believed in the Source for answers to his petitions.
There was no loudness, no demanding of God. He offered up a prayer of humility, such as one in companionship with God might pray. There were a few moments of thanksgiving and praise, then confession and supplication as he poured out his heart about our national sins. He bathed his words “in Jesus’ Name” and sat down.
By this time, the sun had risen above the trees. Our special seating as guests of honor had become a place in the sun. His confession and worshipful thanksgiving told me this elderly gentleman had another place in another Son—the Son of God.
The hot golden orb in the sky was no longer a disturbance to my thought processes. They were lifted higher now. I tried to listen as the rest of the service became a time of worship, but reverie had broken upon my mind and heart. I found myself thinking of the blessings of God and how often we have neglected thankfulness for all we have. It was what the old man had prayed.
I came to life as I heard my name being called. I rose to close in prayer this National Day of Prayer celebration. Someone asked to speak to me, causing me to lose sight of this one who had captured my thoughts by his prayer, but I believe we will meet again someday. "In that day" he will not need a cane nor will he seem elderly. It will be in that other “place in the Son” where we will sit together in and with the "Sun of Righteousness."
"But unto you that fear His Name shall the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His Wings, and you shall go forth..."