Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Out of the Mouths of Babes
I've come to expect the incursion of entropy, which reinforces for me that perfectionism is one of the first demons that an aspiring pastor needs to exorcise from their souls as they enter the ministry. This Sunday, I found myself filling in for a prayer during the first service, and then having to come up with a Time With Children on the fly for the second. Neither one was a bother. Praying publicly dang well better not be something I'm uncomfortable with, and I love doing Time With Children.
At my tiny church, lay folk do an able job of doing Tee Dubya See, and I wouldn't for an instant want to crowd that out. But when the opportunity arises, it's...well...it's fun. The bright sparkly insights of human creatures that haven't yet lost touch with the magic of creation are a joy to encounter. What they aren't is entirely plannable, and so you just ride that energy like you'd surf a wave.
Or so I'd imagine, not having ever learned to surf.
This Sunday we had a visiting youngling join the half-dozen other kids, a bright-eyed little guy, not a bit shy and very attentive. When I wrapped up my message about being careful what we say because words can hurt, I invited them to pray with the invitation I usually use. "Let's say a little prayer together." That's when I say a short closing prayer, and the kids listen quietly for a few seconds.
And so I started in.
But as I paused after the words "Gracious, Loving God," the little guy...hands folded, eyes closed, reasonably assuming I meant what I said when I said "together"...repeated what I'd said. And even though I've never prayed that way, and we never do it that way, all the other kids chimed in too, as easily as if it was the most natural thing in the world.
So for the rest of the prayer, we prayed it out loud together, just as if that was exactly how it was supposed to be.
Which, I think, it was.
And from that TWC, I was reminded that for a congregation to be joyous and alive and truly welcoming, it needs to encounter and embrace the new with that same ease.