The last year of Sunday School was, for me, seventh grade. In eighth grade we went on to junior confirmation, going to the regular service and taking notes on the sermon, but we "tweens" still had our own service with the little kids, followed with a short Bible study with a mother or dad or, perhaps, a college student. And so it was that I found myself on one cold winters' morning in the basement of our church with all those little kids, me- a "cool" seventh grader who was way beyond the ritual of putting birthday pennies in a lighthouse. It was the early sixties, and our church, like most institutions of that Kennedian Golden Age, was trying some "new" things, one of which was "witnessing." I looked at this new development with a wary eye- wasn't that what the heretical Jehovah's Witnesses did?
The "Witness" this week was a woman, I didn't recognize her. She was with her two sons, one about my age, the other a little older. There was something wrong with these boys. The director of the Sunday School, the pastor's wife, was a woman named Ruth. She gave the woman an introduction, telling about the trials of raising what evidently were mentally-disabled children. The witness then began to speak, telling us that God had a plan for us, telling us that he would not give us a cross too great to bear, telling us to trust in Jesus, and...
...and then she broke down, sobbing. Her boys were oblivious to her suffering, each boy trapped in his own world. Ruth comforted the woman, and led her and her boys away. The rest of us remained quiet. Finally, the assistant director led us in a hymn, and then we went our respective grades' classes. I didn't answer any questions during the Bible study that day.