Our church bulletin boldly states,”We thank God for every child at Christ Church. Children are welcome in our worship services.” I like hearing babies cry, children giggle, sounds of real life. The exception, for most of us, would be our children or grands breaking into the silence or solemnity. Theirs so entertaining, ours, not so much.
This general welcome gets tested, especially with Baptisms. Yesterday, after we’d “received, little Lila, into the household of God,” her big sister, around age three, escaped from the pew and scurried to the front where Father Patrick stood welcoming and announcing coming happenings. If I recall correctly, it was when he asked for volunteers to help with workday that she sped towards the altar and smiled up at our pastor.
Who wouldn’t welcome such a child! She so eager, smiling, catching the spirit of the welcome, the plea for help, if not understanding all involved. No wonder Jesus said to his disciples and the rest of us, “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom.” (Mark 9:14 The Message)
Patrick calmly took her hand, not in a death-grip as I might have done, where she stood smiling up at him, then us, while wordlessly preaching the joy of volunteering and coming alongside a pastor.
When Patrick announced the offering, she took off.
She wasn’t comfortable talking about money, any more than rest of us.
Later, her Dad said, “”I’m just thankful she didn’t start splashing in the baptismal font.”
Jesus wouldn’t mind.
If splashed, I hope my first thoughts wouldn’t have been about my hair.
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