Keep on a-rocking me

One day last week a co-worker on maternity leave brought her new little daughter to the office for show and tell. There’s a distinctive commotion when someone brings a baby into the workplace, marked by multiple, high-pitched cooings and cluckings. It’s completely different from the sound of someone bringing doughnuts, for example.

Nevertheless, I looked out over the cubicle walls anyway and saw about a dozen female heads clustered together focusing on something in the midst of them, and I figured they weren’t watching a football game. I walked over in time to see the mother hand the infant off to one of her friends who, within moments, began the distinctive side-to-side rocking motion adults do when holding a child. Not only that, but within minutes the entire cluster was swaying sympathetically as well, including myself. I’m sure it’s a phenomenon we’re all familiar with.

I remembered this little scene again on Sunday morning at church. After we began with praise and worship there was truly a sense of the presence of God in our midst and as I stood in the moment I found myself gently swaying side to side in the exact same way I had earlier in the week, and the recognition of that kind of startled me. I looked around the room and easily two-thirds of the congregation were also quietly swaying in the same way.

Something in us or passed on to us naturally makes us adults rock to comfort a baby that’s hungry, scared or has made a mess. Just as naturally, something in us or passed on to us draws us, even as adults, when we are hungry, scared or have made a mess of things. Then God takes us in his arms, and the breath of His spirit goes “Shhh-shh-shhh, it’s going to be all right.” And it is.

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