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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Monday, October 31, 2005

Let the children come...

Yesterday was my first Sunday back at St. A's since the ordination, and I was both preacher and celebrant; the first time I've presided at the Eucharist there. It was a full house, for us-- more than fifty people, and we had ALL the kids there: our 4 teens, and 7 little ones (8 and under). The two youngest of those, Joli and Pasha, are not quite 2, and are wanderers. They were quiet, for the most part, but constantly in motion throughout the service. One blond head and one dark brown, moving back and forth, up and down the aisles.

They were still through the whole sermon-- coloring at that point, I think; but I could see them both throughout the whole Eucharistic prayer. They'd stop to listen for a bit, whenever the congregation responded; then they'd toddle on around to walk down the aisle, or visit another pew, or come up to stand with the praise team.

One of the lovely things about St. A's is that this is not considered a problem. So long as kids are are not loud or truly disruptive, this behavior is greeted with smiles. They are a very flexible congregation.

Wait, it gets better.

First, little Joli decided this week to come up twice for Communion: first with the music team, and then again with his family. His father initially tried to discourage him, but he was shaking his curly brown head, determined to stick his chubby fist out for a second helping. "It's okay," I told Dad; "He's fine. He can't have too much Jesus."

Which got a smile.

So we finished Communion, and I was cleaning up the Table during the hymn, when Pasha-- a darling little round-faced blond cherub-- comes wandering up the aisle. He walked up and down along the front of altar rail, and then climbed up the step and came right inside, toddling around behind the altar to stand next to me.

I finished tidying up as the hymn ended, and looked down at him one more time before I began the post-communion prayer-- almost a reflex glance, just enough to be sure I knew where he was, so I didn't stumble over him.

And this sweet-faced little boy looked up and reached his hands up for me.

What did I do? Do you even have to ask??

So there I was, in full liturgical vestments, standing before this congregation for the first time as a priest, leading the post-Communion prayer... with a baby on my hip.

And when I raised my hand to pronounce the Benediction, so did he.

I am so blessed in this work.


Blogger Unknown said...

How beautiful, Jane Ellen. What a blessing to be in a place where the children are so much a part of the life of the church at worship.

October 31, 2005 7:38 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding me why i'm still slogging through seminary.

October 31, 2005 8:25 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a fine example that, at Baptism, each of us, no matter what our age, size, maturity (or lack of same) are full members of the Body of Christ!

November 01, 2005 6:36 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...


November 03, 2005 10:10 PM  

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