Its not every Sunday we make it to church together. Saturday night emergency room trips that last till 2 AM, sick ones who are still sound asleep when its time to go, pride-filled mama who chooses to hold a grudge and opts for a pity party alone at home instead of communion with others….these are all recent Sunday morning happenings around here.
And even when we do make it, I’ve been known to utter under my breath “this has got to be more trouble than its worth” while kids run down church halls, a baby cries out when all is silent, one more person says something less than kind about our large family. Though I probably don’t really mean it, it is undoubtedly hard getting 5 children out the door without major crisis or marital conflict. Perhaps its just me but we’ve just not got it quite down yet.
Yesterday as I stood next to our oldest son and Audrey twirled around on my other side, I happened to feel her brush against me so I opened my eyes during worship and looked down. Her little hands were lifted up just like her mama’s were. She had clapped when I’d clapped, sat when I’d sat and then she figured she’d raise up her tiny arms when I did the same. Made my eyes well up and was instantly a powerful reminder of the gravity of my actions, attitudes and words on the lives of my children. Oh that it was always something beautiful that she was learning from me but the truth is it isn’t.
Though she doesn’t understand just what it means, I get the chance to tell her later. But really, she doesn’t care much – she just looks up and sees me and its as simple as that for her little three year old self. I am growing into a belief that children should not be sequestered to fancy kids programs and left completely, purposefully out of the corporate worship service. I believe there is something powerful and crucial when families can worship and experience God together. Of course this can happen in homes but that doesn’t have to be the only place.
So come next weekend, we’ll do it again. We may not have the perfectly dressed kids or the best mannered ones or even be on time. But we’re learning how to be a part of a church family in the midst of our total imperfectness. And it feels good.