Pure of Heart

This morning, as I sat in church waiting for services to start, my eye was drawn to a chubby little gal wearing ill-fitting khaki pants and making her way down to the front.  I watched her as she bounced from person to person in the front row, wrapping each one in big squeeze-y hugs, the kind that rocks back and forth and doesn’t let go.


When the music started, she stood and swayed to the beat, swimming and waving her hands through the air.  It appeared as though she was doing sign language, I couldn’t really tell, but it was glorious the way she seemed to be sewing with invisible needle and thread.  Everything about her radiated a joy that was unfiltered, unmetered, unaffected, unaware.  I thought of how pleasing her worship must be to God, to see her singing praises to Him with her hands.


As apparent as was her joy, so too was her oddly shaped body, adult yet childlike, wide-set almond shaped eyes, hands too small and delicate for the body  —  all the tell tales signs of Downs Syndrome.    


As I watched her, my mind wandered to the passage in Scripture where Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.”  Pure in heart.  I couldn’t help, at that moment, to think that He certainly must have meant the girl with the singing hands, and others like her, in whom there can be found no guile.


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Here’s another observational piece on the sweetness of Downs children in the church entitled “The Purest Voice.”   It was written by my friend Soliloquy back in April who blogs at She Just Had To Say It.  A little insider tip, she’s also doing a Give Away today too, so stop by her home page too and check it out.  



29 thoughts on “Pure of Heart

  1. Oh, how beautifully written. We have a young boy at our church who sits in the front row and praises unabashedly like that. I know exactly what you feel watching her!

  2. I dunno…my brother-in-law, who is a fairly low-functioning Down’s, is definitely not guileless. But I agree–the chance that she was self-conscious in her worship is highly unlikely. It must have been sweet to imagine that someday our worship might be so.

  3. Good verse for the moment. This week I heard the angst of a mother who is pregnant with a Downs Syndrome child and she is so torn; her husband wants to terminate the pregnancy and she is not so sure.

    We don’t see as many Downs Syndrome children these days.

  4. This post made me smile inside – you are so right! Sometimes I wish that we could remember to be pure of heart…

  5. It is so sweet to “see” with our heart what God is speaking of and really understand it. And then to wonder what it would be like to just abandon all to that worship without worry or care…….. sigh…..

  6. I have always marveled at the sweetness and joy that is so evident in most Down’s Syndrome people. I just want to hug them when I see them.

    It is startling to think of why we don’t see many Down’s children.

  7. I supposed it’s true that some Downs people are tricky and affected, but I’ve never met one. Be they sweet or not, they have all been just so very real, and usually sweet and loving.

  8. Amen and amen! I can’t wait to worship like that: giving God my all and not thinking about if I look like a middle-aged goof, did I just sing the wrong words really loud, am I embarrassing my kids, etc.

  9. Excellent as usual. And true. I wonder what it would take for us adults to worship like that; hopefully we will learn how to do it before we reach heaven. This is also a nudge for us parents to start our children young to worship with true love.

  10. you always write so beautifully and make me appreciate each subject a little bit more. you should find out who this little girl’s parents are, I bet they would really appreciate your ability to capture their baby in one of her sweetest moments…

  11. lovely… we had a sweet woman with downs syndrome at our church – she’d been refused baptism at 3 other churches due to her limited mental capacity. Our pastor joyfully baptised her in a public setting and the rejoicing was… well… i can’t even describe the joy!

  12. Our church is close to a Lifestyles facility so we have several attendees that are mentally challenged. They are a wonderful addition to our church family and loved by the membership. They, too, really enjoy worship and are enthusiastic in their movements!! They are sweet, giving people that add something special to our services.

  13. Beautiful and reminds me so much of a girl named Tammy who grew up attending the same church as I did throughout childhood. There is a new blog entitled Rise Rise written by a former journalist and he wrote a beautiful entry about his daughter who had Downs Syndrome and who passed away several years ago. Very touching as well.

  14. There’s a guy with Downs Syndrome who is in nearly every performance of our local theatre productions, despite being nearly wordless – he has lots of great roles, though, and is a wonderful, heartfelt actor.

  15. There is a whole row full of gentelman that comes to some of our worship services from a local residential facility. You are absolutely right that you can’t find purer worship and praise than those who haven’t yet learned to be self-concious. And may I re-learn that!

  16. There was Worship in the words of your post. Being blessed in the Worship of one so innocent is really the best.

    I use to teach pre-school and had a Downs student that was an absolute joy. So helpful and precious and all the other children loved him.

    In my younger years, I worked part time in a Downs pre-school in TN. In all my time there I never saw angst in one child. More love than you could handle but never angst.

    We have a young man that attends our church on occasion that has Downs. The freedom of his worship is beautiful to behold. He carries a harmonica and plays it during the music. No one minds that he is not in tune or that he can’t play.

    I’ve wondered if his harmonica music is all that God hears on those sundays.

  17. Well said. We have a special needs girl/woman at our church. Her and her mother sit outside in the lobby and listen. I’m not sure why they don’t come in. You have inspired me to speak to them next week.

  18. My moms cousin had Down Syndrome and in midlife became a Christian. She embraced it with such enthusiasm. My mom said her funeral was packed to the brim with people who she had touched. Childlike faith, exactly what God wants.

  19. That painted such a picture for me.

    (I just got back from BlogHer, where no less than 3 people told me I needed to “meet Antique Mommy”. SO… Hi, AM, so nice to meet you! Stop by and say hello any time.)

  20. Thank you – it reminds me to treasure all those pure of heart moments that happen at my house….when does that change, I wonder? I guess I don’t really want to know 🙁

  21. Just found your blog again & love this entry! My cousin, Terry has Down’s & she is very special to me! Her mom passed away a couple of years ago & Terry sang a special song with the music director at the funeral. It was the most special thing anyone could have done. It was a testimony to her parents never hiding her away from the public or being ashamed of her. At the graveside I told her she had done a great job singing & she said “I did it for Mom”.

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