I wish you could have met her. She was special. It was at Hildegarde United Baptist Church that she intersected with my young life as my Sunday School teacher several years in a row. I never thought of her having a life between Sundays. She only was real to me once a week, but oh so real! I did hear that she had a husband, but he wasn’t real because I never met him. Our Sunday School classes were in the church basement, and there she was, week after week, standing in the doorway, waiting just for us (just for me?). She always had a smile that caused her plump cheeks to turn red, her eyes to water, followed by her heart-melting deep chuckle at the things we would say in response to her questions. She always smelled really nice and she always wore a big, sparkly brooch on her dress because she knew we liked them. It was like she couldn’t wait to see us to make her day. And we were happy to see her, too. The way she told the Bible stories with the flannelgraph figures was the best! Sometimes, she even let us put the figures up for her! (sigh) She loved us so much. I know that because she told us so every Sunday. It’s too bad you didn’t know her. She had pretty, dark red hair and she wore heeled shoes that laced up, just like the ones my grandmother wore. Her name was Rose Lutes. Her light is still shining in me and in the dozens of other Sunday School children lucky enough to be loved by her – every Sunday morning. If you’d been in her Sunday School class, she would have loved you, too.
Now, all these years later, I wonder how many of God’s redeemed children ‘shine’ on a relatively small group around them, never gaining world attention, never getting known on any grand scale (never seeking to be!) probably not even aware of their shining. I wonder how many of Jesus’ ‘shiners’ ever get feedback from those who receive so much from them. When Jesus told his disciples they would be his witnesses, I think he meant their lives would witness without them needing to sign up for a course in witness readiness. Jesus planned to make them completely, irresistibly, ready. And that’s what he did at Pentecost. Boy, did he!
I hope you had a Rose Lutes in your life. Maybe you are a Rose Lutes in someone’s life now, without knowing it. I was too shy to tell her I loved her, but I hope she knew it somehow. It’s been 60 years and she is still very real to me. Maybe I’ll get to tell her some day when I see her in heaven. I’ll introduce her to you. You’ll really like her. PD