Like a Burrito

Mar 12, 2018

By Debbie Gallipo, administrative assistant for PCA

In the comfort and security of our younger son’s home, our sweet little granddaughter, Stella, loves to cuddle.  She will snuggle on a lap for hours reading books and singing songs.  When those holy moments are over she often goes in for her bath.  When she is done with her bath, Daddy wraps her up nice and snug in her towel and she announces, “I am a Burrito!”  So funny and cute, and Oh So Loved!  Stella experiences love and knows she is loved through those times of personal contact, through embrace of those around her who love her without condition.

It is surprising to me when someone says they are not a hugger. Of course, I respect that, but my love language includes touch. My husband and I are ‘those people’ who still hold hands when we walk in the mall. Receiving or giving a touch on the shoulder when it’s hard to know what to say does the job for me.

Several weeks ago, inside the walls of the South Dakota State Penitentiary I found myself wrapped like a burrito in Christian love by the inmates at St. Dysmas Lutheran Church.  My husband, Wayne, serves as their pastor and the men of the congregation are aware that I am in treatment for advanced lung cancer.  They pray for me (us) regularly and draw lovely cards.  Wayne tells me they ask about me every week, send their greetings, expressions of love, and concern for me home with Wayne each Thursday.  The evening I was able to worship with them, near the closing of worship, one of the men with a huge smile on his face, came forward, grabbed a microphone from a musician’s music stand and called me forward and then asked Wayne to stand beside me. They asked if they could pray for us. A group of prayer leaders came forward laying their hands on Wayne’s and my shoulders. They invited others from the congregation to come up and lay hands on us or on another whose hand laid upon us.  Nearly everyone there came forward.  The presence of Christ’s love for us enveloped us through their prayers and in their touch.  We were both deeply moved.

Their prayers were comforting, deeply felt requests for healing and peace. I felt covered in their love and God’s love. Like a swaddled baby. Like a burrito.

Thanks be to God for prison congregations. Congregations that provide the opportunity for members and visitors to be vessels of God’s love for one another. Pouring it out with a Touch of Grace.

Category: love

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