A Little Child Shall Lead
I’d like to introduce you to Riley Jane. However, as amazing as she is, you will now have to wait to meet her. This wonderful 10 year old was born to a couple at my church, and was gifted with profound disabilities, which required a permanent trach tube and oxygen. This prevented normal speech and activity, also leaving her wheelchair bound. Friends have described her as “very high maintenance medically, and extremely low maintenance emotionally.”
With her challenges, any bronchial illness is a terrible danger. And indeed, last week, she contracted a bug that proved too much for her poor stressed lungs to overcome.
Today was her memorial service. To get an understanding of the impact she had, understand that about 800 people came to honor her. Few adults after a full life are sent Home by so many well-wishers. Riley Jane changed lives with a look or a touch, and hardly a word.
It was incredible to see so many people there, including many of her classmates from Rosedale School (Austin ISD's school for medically fragile children with disabilities), one of whom did the Scripture reading from his wheelchair. Sure it was a little disruptive, but it was a joy to celebrate Riley Jane’s life with them. The congregation today was truly a spectrum of humanity, just as every congregation should be every time we gather to worship the King of all.
A close family friend (who works for a church) described Rosedale as a holy place, far more holy than most churches. She described how Jesus would be more comfortable there than in many a pew. The love and respect and ministry to those in need sanctified it more than any hymn or prayer could any other building.
A common theme today, apart from her sweet spirit and love, was the joy we have in knowing that now for the first time ever she is running, jumping, talking and singing free. We just wish we could be there to see those first joyful steps.
We enter this world with tears and are placed in loving arms.
We enter the next with a deep sigh as we fall into arms of Love.