Little Amanda raised her hand during the Kids’ Sermon last Sunday and asked me, “Are you the ‘God of Church’?” The Cute o’ Meter needle went off the scale. Not only was it a precious and hilarious moment for us all, and not just a little bit like an Art Linkletter airing, requiring quickness of foot while under pressure on my part, but it was most importantly a perfect teaching moment for all of us on many levels, and thus, an example of one of the greatest benefits I was hoping for when we decided to combine our Children’s Family Service with our Contemporary Service for the summer.
We are all looking for that Presence are we not? Someone tangible we can touch and handle and adore. Someone to look up to. I told the congregation at the later service about the question posed to me. I told that them when she asked me if I am the ‘God of Church’, I replied, “Why, yes I am, you wise child!” They roared. Of course, that’s not what I told Amanda. I told her, “No, I am not the God of church. I am His servant, and so are we all.” I pray that our witness of God’s love can always be so sweet that when children and adults ask us if we are “gods”, we can point to the One and say, “Here is the Lamb of God. Follow Him.”
A second wonderful thing that happened was when Fr. Jeff and I invited all the children in the congregation--and more than a few came up—to join us around the altar as we celebrated Holy Communion. Their keen interest, their sense of wonderment, their obvious curiosity about what we were doing at that table was palpable. It didn’t hurt that we had some very attentive adult eucharistic ministers who showed to the children the bread and the wine and the water and the lavabo bowl and the chalice and the paten and all the stuff of table fellowship that brings us together in Jesus’ love. I remarked later how I wish that I had been given that invitation when I was a little child. I truly felt that we had been transported into the heavenly realm as we celebrated, which is what John Calvin, among others, would have us to understand about the Holy Eucharist.
“Allow the little children to come to me” was reverberating in my heart, and I knew we were doing something right because as Jesus said, “the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these”. So a deep sense of purpose has begun to emerge for us at St. George’s through this combined service. It has always been with us, but now has found a renewed expression as we worship together this summer as children, adults, grandparents, single people and couples: We are here to serve God, and in our serving, to serve one another. And it always begins with the children. We see the Kingdom so purely through their eyes.
What I didn’t tell you until now is that Little Amanda, until last year, has been a foster child. Chew on that for a minute. Without knowing it, when we gathered together to seek God in Sunday worship, we gave a great, great gift to a child whose greatest desire has been to belong to someone. And this eager child (who tried so hard to mouth the words of the liturgy along with Fr. Jeff) helped to show us how God sees us all--as His precious, adopted children. She showed us who we are in Jesus.
Come see us at the 9:30 service on Sunday. And bring your children and your grandchildren with you.
St. George’s Episcopal Church St. George's Website
9110 Dorchester Rd.
Summerville, SC 29485