Today I went to see a brand new baby, not even a full day old yet. Everyone knows there is something great about going to see a healthy baby. Mom looks exhausted (and rightly so), but bathing her little one with love. Mom and dad both look proud, which may be why one Southernism I have heard is, “I’m so proud for you!” Perhaps people who once experienced the pride of becoming a parent can see it in another person and say, “I’m proud for you.”
I remember hearing people say that when Langston was born. In would walk someone, and he or she would take one look at the scene and say, “I’m just so proud for you guys.” And I think each person who said it meant it, they were proud for us.
I had never heard that before that moment, or if I had heard it I had not noticed. That happens with life sometimes. We only notice things after they have affected us. I remember when I bought a 2004 Honda Civic. I thought it was a relatively new car style. At least in my own driving I hadn’t noticed many of them. Then as soon as I drove off the lot it seemed every other car on the road was a Honda Civic. How had I not noticed that before?
I had never noticed anyone saying to someone else, “I am so proud for you,” but I had probably heard it. Maybe it didn’t register because no one had been proud for me. Sure people had been proud of me, but never proud for me. Then as I held Langston, or Melinda held him, or whoever else, and in came so-and-so saying, “I’m proud for you,” I thought to myself, “Why yes, I am overwhelmed with pride, I suppose I am proud for myself!”
I wonder how many times God looks at the whole human scene, this whole mess of which we are all a part, and sometimes sees something that makes God just say aloud, or within, or however God would say it, “I’m just so proud for you!” I’d like to think God can do that sometimes. See something miraculous and smile. Maybe it is a smile that comes from a place of joy that we who are made in that divine image finally figured out what we could do because of it.
If God is able to do anything like this, perhaps God is doing it right now as God looks over our little church. Here we were a couple of years ago barely breathing as it were, and now we are raising money to help others who may actually be barely breathing in every literal and metaphorical way we can think of during this Missions Week. God was there rebirthing this church, and now God is just so proud for us as grace allows us to birth something in return. Our own little hope, our own little bundle joy. And as we hold onto this Missions Week, I hope we can sense God walk into our worship celebrations, smiling at the whole scene, maybe even saying, “I’m so proud for you.”
That’s a reason to celebrate! That’s a reason to raise money! That’s a reason to build bridges in our community! That’s a reason to try to be foolish enough to change the world! What we are proud for, God might just be proud for, as well.