And a Little Child Shall Lead them
Each Sunday, I invite worshippers to share personal celebrations or concerns, so that we might pray with and for them as a family of faith. Yesterday, I was struck when one woman began “Because we’re a praying church, I asked my friend if I could mention her name.” This identifying characteristic has been developing over the past year and, with the help of two beautiful children, we’ve been catapulted forward.
At prayer time, Carrie, age 5, courageously raised her hand and said, “I have a dentist appointment sometime this week.” When asked how she would like us to pray for her, she responded, “Well, I’m a little scared.” If the expressions across the sanctuary are any indication, her honesty and witness spoke volumes. After several adults shared, Carrie’s cousin Olivia, age 4, followed suit. “Pray for Mimi,” she said. And, just like that, in a matter of minutes, blessings overflowed.
Through Carrie and Olivia’s innocent, sincere expressions of faith, we experienced true community. You see, when we worship, keeping Jesus at the center of our focus, and when we ask for help, the Spirit gives us the courage to be honest, transparent, and vulnerable with each other. By the same Holy Spirit that descended upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost a couple thousand years ago, we still get to be part of the “ripple effect “of God’s love. Through the way the Holy Spirit encourages and empowers us to love, serve, and journey alongside others, we share God’s transforming love. What a sacred honor and privilege!
While preparing to observe the Sacrament of Holy Communion, blatantly aware of the blessings gleaned as a family of faith, I shared my belief that our kitchen tables often become altar tables when we acknowledge the presence of the Spirit of the Risen Christ. It’s often around kitchen tables that we share in conversation, connection, and comfort, as well as the human experiences of chaos, conflict, and pain. Likewise, when we remember the Holy Spirit’s presence, through God’s grace, our altar table becomes a kitchen table of sorts, where we are seen, heard, loved, and reminded that we are not alone. How insightful of Jesus to use bread and wine- ordinary staples of the traditional Jewish meal- to help us experience His extraordinary love, mercy, forgiveness, and grace, and thus increase our awareness of the needs of those around us. “Every time you eat this bread, every time you drink this cup, remember Me,” Jesus said.
Our kitchen table has repeatedly become an altar table, thanks to the leadership of our 5-year-old granddaughter Harper Rae. Our schedules don’t always match, but we are grateful to dine together around the table as often as possible. Harper often leads us in what has become a sacred ritual of sorts: “How was your day, Pops?” “How was your day, Mommy?” “JoJo, how was your day?” After we answer, I have the pleasure of asking her the same question, “Harper, how was your day?” Yet another example of a little child leading us in sacred companionship and connection.
Friends, I am convinced that the Spirit of the One who came to us a little child continually leads us into deeper relationship with God and with one another. Pay attention to the children around you this week and let them lead, for we have much to learn from them!