I love doing children’s sermons. They are fun and challenging, requiring that I find the essential truth in the scripture stories I tell. Then I must use words that are clear and simple to talk about truth that is essential and challenging. But the best part is what the children always bring to the tale. For me, a good children’s sermon requires not only thoughtful preparation, but deep listening in the moment. I may have come with some truth to tell, but so have they. Sitting with our children for the children’s sermon reminds me every Sunday that we are all disciples of Christ, all called to sit at the feet of the master.
So this Sunday, when we read the words of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, that with the Christ our yoke is easy and our burden is light, I remember a children’s sermon I did long ago on the steps of Redeemer, Salmon. It was my first children’s sermon there. I didn’t know the children gathered; they didn’t know me. And the bishop was present, sent to lead the discussion on whether or not I would be called as a lay-vicar by the people of that community. So, I was prepared. I had rehearsed what I would say. I had a great backpack as a prop and a wonderful worksheet that completed the lesson. I called the children forward and we all sat down.
I pointed to my backpack, full and very heavy. We talked about how heavy it was and how tired it made me to carry it. “Sometimes life is like that,” I said. “So what can I do if this is just too heavy for me to carry by myself?” The children looked at me with big eyes. Finally a girl raised her hand. Somewhat reluctantly she said, “You could ask someone, like Jesus, I guess, to help you. . .or,” she continued with much more energy, despite clearly knowing this wasn’t the answer I was seeking, “you could take some of this stuff out!” We all sat there for a moment in stunned silence. Clearly the answer all us wise adults knew was coming and the one she dutifully gave first, was not nearly as wise as her true, courageous answer. She gave me both the answer I wanted and the answer she knew was better, hoping the discussion was about truth and not about the grown up in charge. I knew the risk she took, making the teacher look foolish in front of the church, but needing, nonetheless, to tell the truth of her own experience. I remember the look on her face waiting to see what I would do, who I was. Were we all God’s children in this place, teaching and learning together or was church just the same as the world everywhere else? Would I laugh and pat her on the head or treat her as an equal bringing wisdom and truth?
I am glad to say that God granted me a moment of grace in this instance so I took a deep breath and said, “You know you are absolutely right! I had been thinking that we should ask for help when we had too much to carry, but you are right. Perhaps life is too hard sometimes because we are carrying things we shouldn’t.” I remember her face lit up as she smiled. She waited respectfully for me to finish and then she said. “Of course asking Jesus for help is always a good idea, too!”
This Sunday Jesus calls us out for wanting God to dance to our tune. If I am honest, I sat down wanting the children assembled to be a prop for my impressive sermon. The brave girl suspected as much, but something gave her hope enough, courage enough to test the truth of who I purported to be. She challenged me to make space for conversation, for respect, for humility. . .for God, and when I did, the Spirit swept in. It wasn’t a hurricane or a whirlwind, but the transforming, healing breath of the Spirit was felt that day. And it renews my heart and calls me to remember who I am every time I read this scripture.
We will live stream services from the church for the next few weeks until the infection numbers come down in Canyon County. Please wear masks, eat healthy and get a lot of fresh air and sunshine so we can get back to worshiping together in person as soon as possible!
Adventure Club: We did not go on Adventure Club this week because some of our kids were sick and the rise in COVID cases. We hope to go out again in a couple of weeks, but will have to wait and see for safety's sake.
Christian Guzman's Graduation: Christian Guzman graduated from high school this week and we want to congratulate him! We will have a blessing for him just as soon as we can gather again for worship!
Angela's ordination: Angela Lerena's ordination is July 18. Her diocese is not allowing any gatherings so there will be minimal people in attendance. I have contacted the worship committee for Angela's ordination, asking how we at Grace might take part in that. I will let you know as soon as I hear from them.
Join the Evangelism Team. Mia was called to Grace to help us faithfully connect with and embrace the new people God is calling to our parish. We need 5-6 people to discern and brainstorm. Meetings will be in person or via Zoom. Please let Mia know if you are interested at RevMia20@gmail.com or 208-860-7967
Paradise Point in a Box! The bishop has asked us to remind you that Paradise Point is offering Camp in a Box this summer. The cost is $35-45 per box, for all the stuff you need to have camp at home and online. Check out the website to find the box that's best for you!