God Says Yes: A Visit to L’Arche Bethlehem

Photo courtesy of Twitter

Photo courtesy of Twitter

by Isaac Villegas, Pastor, Chapel Hill Mennonite Fellowship, North Carolina

They had told me to come by around eight in the morning. People were already gathered in the main room, seated in chairs pushed against the walls. A woman greeted me with a smile and waved me to an empty chair. As soon as I sat down, a young man darted from his seat across the room, and he stood in front of me, almost on top of me, hunching down into my face, his eyes danced—first glancing at my forehead, then the ceiling, then my beard, then the ceiling, only looking into my eyes for a flash of a moment, only a flicker of mutual recognition.

He said one word to me before he rushed back to his chair. His eyes connected with mine, he smiled, and in a voice much louder than I’m used to—a gentle yell—he said, “Yes.” One word. Yes.

After their time of sharing and singing in the morning, the thirty people in the room divided up into five groups for a day of crafts, of work, baskets of wool washed and felted into miniature sheep and caves for nativity scenes. I was led to one of the rooms, and as I entered I saw him again, the same young man, seated around a table with six other people—and he saw me. He jumped from his chair, bouncing his way to me, bumping into the wall, the table, his friends. He came to my side, as close as he could without touching me, and he pointed at the empty chair beside his, and he said the same word again, “Yes.”

This is an excerpt from an April 10 sermon. Read the full text here.