THE HEALING POWER OF A CHILD

Even before we finished the first hymn, I knew that taking Aaron Charles Hoffman with me to the nursing home had been a good idea. More faces than usual were raised and turned in my direction. There were smiles on more of them. A number of folks were actually singing!

Ministry in nursing homes has always been one of my favorite pastoral duties, in some sense precisely because of the challenge. Over the course of their long lives, nursing-home residents have heard and seen it all. Especially in their latter days, they have been subjected to many assaults upon their freedom and dignity. In consequence, they have built strong emotional armor.

At 16 months of age, with a cloud of wispy, blond hair, Aaron Charles pierced their armor. For the entire forty minutes of this Thursday-morning worship service, I carried Aaron in my arms. And just to make sure I had all the ammunition I might need, I also brought with me Aaron's two sisters: Rachael Ann, a 4-year-old blonde, and Elizabeth Eileen, a 6-year-old ...

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