Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Mother's Day Moment

During the middle of the service at our great church Judson Memorial on Sunday there came a point when assistant minister Michael Ellick introduced soloist John Cormier who would sing a song – Stevie Wonder’s “I Just Called to Say I Love You.” The minister invited people in the congregation to get out their cell phones and call their mothers and we would all sing with the soloist. Unfortunately I left my phone at home (who needs a cell phone in church?) but people all around snapped out their phones and called their mothers: “Hi Mom, I am in church and am supposed to call you so now hold on and listen to this.” People ran up to the altar table with an arm out-stretched holding up their phone to the soloist. We all sang and the singing got louder and louder so that all the mothers on the other ends could hear. Up at the altar table were young and old, men and women, gay and straight singing out to their mom with the congregation behind. Little silver cell phones twinkled in the light, reaching out love to mothers across the land. Ain’t technology great? It was moving to watch as it unfolded – an unexpected, unrehearsed moment of pure joy.
And next year I’m bringing my phone.  


CashmereLibrarian said...

Wow. Sometimes just really unexpectedly lovely things happen.

Unknown said...

"An unexpected, unrehearsed moment of pure joy."
I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks for your beautiful words about Sunday, Bart. I imagine the view from your seat -- without your phone -- was precious in its own right.
Do you know if anyone took a picture of this special moment?
I can't wait to look at the rest of your blog.
Much love,
Justin Ward

Catherine Jones McClarin said...

What a wonderful story - and so like the Judson I remember from many years ago when my first visit there began with the opening hymn "We All Live in a Yellow Submarine". My wonderful father (Randy Jones) and beloved stepmother (Emily Jean Gilbert) were married during a Sunday morning service in 1979. Thanks for bringing back those memories!

Paul Pincus said...

that was beautiful, bb.

gosh, i'm a little choked up.

cheers, -p.p.

Errant Aesthete said...


I have not seen, heard or read anything that approaches the loveliness of this simple gesture, beautifully executed. Talk about the power of an idea! In one spontaneous moment, the vulgarity and commercialism of this heavily marketed day was shunned, while those ubiquitous tools of torture (cells) that never leave our side were transformed into missives of love. What an enlightened church.