When I look at this picture, I have some really great memories…
of being bored out of my mind.
This is Saline Presbyterian Church, in Michigan.
I would have been around 9. My brother was 7.
Up front, the preacher (our dad) was preaching, and we were trying to make it through another hour of worship.
Tic Tac Toe. Hangman. That dots and boxes games.
We’d count the number of ceiling tiles.
We’d scratch out letters and words in the bulletin to make new sentences. “We lift up our cares” became “We lift up cars.”
We’d try to make the other one laugh, and then look scornfully if they did.
We’d stand and sing the hymns, sometimes changing the words. “When I fall on my face with my knees to the rising sun…”
We’d doodle, and fidget, poke each other, and stare at the clock that seemed to tick so slowly, and sometimes, when all other options were extinguished, we’d actually listen.
My dad was a great preacher. When I was a little older, my mom became ordained. She was a great preacher, too.
Still, I’ll be honest. There were plenty of Sundays when I would have rather been any place other than some old stuffy sanctuary. But something about that weekly discipline, that time spent in “Holy Space” listening to words of wisdom, began to affect me.
Theological concepts began to make sense. Stories from the Bible became more intriguing. And I was actually able to see the connection between what we did in here, in the Sanctuary, and what the Church is called to do out there, in the world.
Today, when I see kids in church, there with their families, I feel so happy to see them. I wouldn’t begrudge them some doodling or tic tac toe throughout the service, either.
But when I preach, part of me is preaching for them. I want to make them smile, or laugh, or perk up. Or even learn something.
I want them to catch a glimpse. A glimpse of Jesus there in the room with us.
I know worship can sometimes be boring (for any age),
but I do believe it has a cumulative affect.
So parents, keep ’em coming.
Both for their sake, and for mine.
After all, the glimpse of Jesus I get to see
is frequently in them.
Have a great week,