Sunday, June 27, 2010

A sermon in defense of toddlers

I'll be the first to admit that I do not go to church regularly. Yes, my husband works in a church but right now I go more out of obligation than a genuine desire to be a part of the congregation. Usually we sit about three or four pews from the front on the outside with friends of ours. Then again, to say that we sit through the service is a complete misnomer. Sweet One is constantly on the move and I have no desire to try and restrain her. If I did, I know that there would be nothing but screaming. Following her around the sanctuary is also one reason why we don't go every Sunday - I do not like feeling so conspicuous and constantly chasing her is exhausting. (Even as a child I wished I could be more invisible during the service but as a PK, that is nearly impossible.) I don't know how many times members of the choir and the church have come up to me and said, "I love how you let her freely roam" and the congregation's smiles when she has made her presence known does help me feel better.

After not being at church for a few weeks and knowing that I won't be going next week, I decided to go today. (I just finished sewing Sweet One a seersucker dress that had to be shown off!)

For the summer, our church has decided to go to one service instead of two and this week was a bit different in that the young man who was in charge of the day camp over the past week or two did the sermon. Because of these two things the pews were quite full and with us arriving just as church started there were no aisle seats to be had so I sat at the back with the ushers. (There we go, I'm pretending that I will actually occupy my seat again!) It ended up being a great place to sit because there was a big open space for Sweet One to walk around in and do her thing. Every once in awhile she would make a noise but nothing that was unacceptable.

During a hymn Sweet One danced in circles and laughed. Halfway through the hymn I noticed an older woman shaking her head in frustration at Sweet One's sounds. At first I felt like I should silence her as a lumpy feeling showed up in my stomach. But then I reminded myself of how much this congregation loves her and that this poor old, cranky lady is the first to ever negatively react to Sweet Ones presence in church. A short while later as the young man finished up his sermon he said something along the lines of: "The next time you're in church and a toddler is making noise behind you, relax! At least there are children in the church. And the children are the future of this church." Of all the defensive lines I had running through my head, this definitely said it the best.

(As we left the church the friends who sit in the front said they didn't even hear Sweet One so she really couldn't have been that loud!)

1 comment:

  1. I love this story. As a PK myself, I am extremely jaded when it comes to church. All the churches I've attended would have had someone ask me to leave with the child or would have passive agressively mentioned the nursery to me. I like that the congregation at your church is made up of such understanding people!


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