It was Baby Day on a recent morning at church, and parents who had welcomed little ones into their families last year paraded them in front of us so we could meet a future Sunday school class.
Seeing those kids wasn’t the best part of the morning, though. That came later, when the parents and babies remained in the pews for the rest of the services. As beautiful as those babies were to see, they were even more wonderful to hear.
Their hymns were almost imperceptible at first, just a solitary cough or coo. It eventually became evident, however, that a choir was tuning up in the sanctuary.
As the pastor spoke, a gurgle came from the back of the room. Then a murmur from the other side of the aisle. Soon there was a brief, gentle cry; a cough or a sneeze. That was followed by replies of all sorts from the littlest worshippers.
These random acts of kiddies weren’t disagreeable at all. They were reassuring syllables from tiny people too young to talk. As the hour passed, it made me think – oddly enough – of a cowboy movie in which everyone is gathered around a fire at the end of the day, listening to the lowing of the cattle herd.
I closed my eyes. I tuned out everything else until the utterances became more obvious. That angel chorus took me from the campfire to the midst of a jungle from a Tarzan movie.
I felt small and alone in the jungle, isolated from the world, surrounded by unseen life forms. In the jungle, we would have been hearing the gravelly growl of a big cat, the eeee-eeee-eeee of some simian in the trees, the far-off trumpeting of an elephant muted only by the miles.
The babies’ symphony was like that – but lower, softer, more loving than the roar of a lion stalking prey. It was stereophonic comfort food for the ears.
This show had no intermission, either. For as long as we sat there, the babies entertained us, almost subliminally.
Many people probably didn’t even notice. Perhaps parents heard only their own children’s calls for nourishment or signals of impending dreamland.
In a few years, those tiny voices would translate to “Why?” and “Why not?” Next would come, “Are we there yet?” and “He touched me!” Finally, “But everybody else is doing it!” and “You are so unfair!” Now, for too short a time, their demands were sweet and bubbly, musical and faint.
I would hate to have missed that concert.
Coincidentally: Other sounds caught my ear that morning.
The pastor said we should “trust but verify.” While shaving earlier, I had heard that same philosophy in a radio news report about Iran’s nuclear program.
The pastor also cited the time Bill Buckner let the baseball roll through his legs, costing the Boston Red Sox a 1986 World Series game. After church, I turned on the TV and saw that very play on a news program.
I love it when life comes in pairs like that.