“That’s a large piece of bread!” “$20?! Whoa.”
Those comments drifted into my heart at church this Spring. They are normative phrases in a liturgical church made up of and run by children. From Palm Sunday to Pentecost I was their preacher, attempting to find kid-sized meaning in the deep theology that makes up the lectionary during the Easter.
I was reminded quickly that there is no honeymoon period with kids. Their bad days are your bad days from the very beginning — they do not come equipped with happy face masks to cover their emotions. On the Sunday I asked “How can we show love to those who aren’t always nice to us?” one child quickly responded “We don’t!”
It was difficult. It tested every last drop of theological training I’ve received. And I loved it. I will never again be able to pass the peace without hearing “Pizza Christ!” But I will also carry with it the explanation that we greet each other because we will be having communion later, and we need to make sure that there is no stuff between us and another in the community. Communion by intinction may always be “rip and dip” and surrounded by giggles, but I crave the “big piece” to be reminded of the joy of Christ’s presence with and through us.
The Book of Common Prayer grew ever nearer to my heart as I hear the chorus of children repeating:
“May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you : wherever he may send you;
may he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
may he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
may he bring you home rejoicing : once again into our doors.”
I was the interim minister, but it was the kids who preached to me about the joy and trials of community. Jesus wasn’t wrong when he insisted that the children had a place with him.