I have a new post up at a Deeper Church about Pentecost, the daily physical stuff of life, and the question my son’s Sunday School asks him every week: “Are you ready to worship God?”
“’I will not take you out of the world.’ There are enormous implications here that I can so easily neglect. Christ was a carpenter for most of his life, and those years were not wasted ones…. Christianity does not isolate the sacred from the secular. Not only are material things good in themselves, they are also signs of God’s loving attention, and they can, if we let them, open up a way to him.”
-Esther de Waal, Living with Contradiction
My son stands outside his Sunday School class, a gym sectioned off into age groups by carpeted dividers. He’s in a line with all the four-year-olds. He’s got his classic moves going on so as to impress the “ladies” in line beside him. These moves include hitting himself in the head and making an “Oomph!” noise, then waving his arms in a circle, going “Whoa, whoa, whoa.” Then he smiles as if to say, I’m that awesome, girls. It comes naturally.
His teacher asks him to be calm as he comes to the front of the line. “August,” she says, “Are you ready to worship God?”
He shakes his head yes. “Okay, you can go sit in the circle.”
And he walks to the circle where three boys are whispering various forms of “poop” to each other and cackling and two girls are digging in the carpet strands for treasures.The teacher rolls out the sand table and tells a story about deserts and God’s people and how God loved them and made a way. At the end, the children are invited to wonder out loud about the story. They say, “I like to play with sand at the park” or sometimes they say nothing.
This is how four-year-olds worship. Yes, I said worship.
I pray big things for my sons. I pray for gentle spirits and for courage. I pray they will be men of conviction and mercy, justice and forgiveness. I pray they will grow to love the things that God loves.
And sometimes we have tender discussions about faith. We talk about God giving us new, soft hearts, especially on days when our hard hearts seem to be running the show. We talk about taking care of people who need care the most.
But most of my living with my boys is not “spiritual,” it’s physical. I am wiping snot. I am wiping rear ends. I am chopping vegetables; I am singing the praises of vegetables to the child who refuses to try new things. I am holding tools in my hands. I am tending ouchies. I am packing bags and packing snacks and packing my pockets with tissues because someone always has a cold. I am tying shoes and buckling seat belts.
And it is holy work. Yes, I said holy.
Read the rest here at A Deeper Church.
Image Credit: Sivesh Kumar, Flickr