What a joy it was last week to be welcomed to and led in worship by the youth. I loved watching as they walked into the 8:00 service to take their places with confidence and grace.
I loved the row of greeters at 10:00 a.m. meeting me at the door and the way the ushers asked so kindly if I needed a bulletin. As the service progressed, it made me think about this coming weekend when we will be baptizing Dalton, Asher, Jack and Brady... and about a Sunday 17-18 years from now. I wonder where you will be in 17 -18 years? I wonder if we will be sitting in the same pews whispering about what fine young men Dalton, Asher, Jack and Brady have become; if we’ll nod with a certain pride at the words they preach, or the children’s message they deliver. I wonder if we will stand with our heads lifted high or slightly bowed as they bless us and send us out into the world.
A lot will happen in the next 18 years. Some things will be the same. We will still be trying to figure out what is the best way to communicate with families as platforms change and evolve. We’ll still be listening to scripture that is simultaneously familiar and foreign.
Over the years, I pray, that Dalton, Asher, Jack and Brady will have had a few adventures together. Maybe they will all be at a family fun night, singing out their lungs to Frozen or the next great hit, laughing conspiratorially at their own jokes on the floor of Congregational Hall as their parents talk about school or upcoming moves. Maybe that adventure will be in nine years when they join the older kids at Vacation Bible Camp, heading out to serve and explore our community. Maybe it will be in Sunday School as they dive deep into God’s word together.
On Sunday, we’ll see them on the chancel held in their parents’ loving arms. In a few years, we'll see them in red robes singing with the choir or racing down the aisle on their own two feet as we sing “Jesus Loves Me” after another baptism. We’ll smile as they step forward to receive Bibles in third grade and hymnals in fifth grade. I’ll be the first to cry when we hear them profess their faith, together, the year they are confirmed (I think that will be right around May of 2028).
It all starts this Sunday, when they take this first step together.
As a Children’s minister, much of my work is balancing the big picture. How are we welcoming little children as Christ commanded - teaching them as our faith demands - with the minute details of the day (how many cookies do we need for a family fun night; do all the nursery workers have current CPR certification; where are the crayons?) Every Sunday when we gather on that chancel, whether to baptize or to share a message, I am caught by the gift we share as a church. Surrounded by children and surrounded by all of you, I reminded again and again, that you and I share the great privilege not only to watch, but to be a part of one another’s lives as we grow together in faith.