I had two experiences this week in which I was taught a lesson by children. Wednesday, Ash Wednesday, was a mixed bag for me. I can't help but admit that it was disappointing to have what I thought was an amazingly creative and collaborative worship service, but only have one of the worshippers from the congregation that I serve come the six miles across to Pittsburg to attend. However, as we were preparing, a family walked in and looked a little confused, so I walked back and greeted them. Mom and a daughter of maybe 8 or 9 years of age. Raquel and Aris. They asked if we were having bible study and I explained we were having an Ash Wednesday worship service but that it would have a lot of different voices speaking, music, visuals, rituals and NO 20 minutes sermon (grin). I gave them a liturgy and invited them to come on in. Sometime during the service their son, probably 11 or 12 years of age, Raja, joined them. They stayed for the whole service and one of the other pastors commented after we were finished that the boy came up to him and said, "This is the coolest church I've ever been to!" Somehow I needed to know that what we did was not completely lost and it clearly was not.
Last evening, I had dinner with two friends and their two and a half year old daughter. I ordered a veggie burger and some fries. I was not intending to eat many of the fries and I think my food came first. E. immediately asked me for some fries and I obliged. Then she asked for more. At this point, mom and dad intervened and encouraged her to eat more of her regular food before having more fries. Then, I had a few and put a bit of ketchup on my plate. At this point she started pointing at my plate and indicated that she too wanted ketchup for her fries! All of this was amusing and I asked her parents if she did this with everyone. They indicated that she was not generally so comfortable or forward. I was struck by how good it felt for her to take from me. It felt way better than receiving. Or was it receiving? Perhaps I was receiving the trust of another from the mouth and hands of a babe.