Larry the Door Man

By Veronica

Every Sunday in our church nursery, an elderly man sits in a chair, watching the door. His name is Larry, and he does not hear very well, but he watches the children and sits next to the door, making sure that no toddlers take advantage of a full nursery or a distracted teacher to make a break for it.

Our church has a lot of old people in it. There is nothing exceptional about that; most churches have a lot of old people in them. But our church used to have ONLY old people in it. Twenty years ago, there were no children in the church. None. It was a small, dying congregation, with no younger generation to continue it.

So this tiny, dying congregation decided to pray. They prayed that God would renew their congregation. They prayed that young people would find their way to them. They prayed and prayed, and they didn’t just pray; they built a nursery. They built a nursery when they had no children to put in it.

I think of those prayers and that improbable act of faith when I greet Larry and drop off my children at the very full nursery on Sunday morning. It took years, but young people came back to this church. They came to hear the gospel preached. They came to be part of a community of faith. They came, and they brought their children, and they had more children, and now this dying little congregation has a handful of children’s Sunday school classes, and a fellowship hall that is filled after Sunday worship, filled with people of all ages, filled with school kids and babies and pregnant mothers.

It has not gone entirely smoothly. The children that exist in the vision of the elderly are not the children of reality, and there have been snags and bumps to smooth out. We do not all imagine church the same way, and we do not all want the same things from it. But when I sit by Larry at the door, watching the children crawl or toddle, I feel I am a part of something holy. Forgiveness and charity, humility and faith – they crowd around us like so many dancing children, offering themselves up for our embrace.

Larry cannot hear the prattle of the children, but he serves them with eyes and hands and heart. The young lives that are so different from his own receive his love, even without knowing it. I sit by his chair, thinking of prayer, and the long humble service of the faithful, and I hear in the children’s laughter the ancient words of the psalmist: “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God…”

Veronica usually occasionally blogs at Toddled Dredge.

7 Responses to Larry the Door Man
  1. Stephanie
    August 18, 2009 | 8:30 am

    This pains my heart. So precious. I want this in my church, and don’t have it.


  2. Sherri K. Edman
    August 18, 2009 | 10:54 am

    I love this.

  3. Mrs Lemon
    August 18, 2009 | 11:03 am

    We have the opposite problem – we have a Bible-preaching, not any ear-tickling preaching, and yet we still have only a small handful of older saints. So many young families, but we need the older seasoned Christians too.

  4. Kelly
    August 18, 2009 | 10:55 pm

    Beautiful post. The church as it should be.

  5. Tonggu Momma
    August 19, 2009 | 10:16 am

    We have the opposite problem… very young families (and young Christians!) with few mature believers. I need to pray for more seasoned Christians to walk through our doors (and stay!).

  6. edj
    August 19, 2009 | 3:24 pm

    Great post. Made me a bit sniffly. PMS, of course.

  7. lennot
    April 3, 2012 | 8:41 pm

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