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Seasons of the Church

June 9, 2013

We sat in our pews on January 6th, the first Sunday of Epiphany as the pastor attempted to deliver his Children’s Sermon. The group of attentive kids consisted of one boy and four girls. Most were pre-school age, with a couple of elementary school children thrown in.

A dark-haired first grade boy, Brian, sat quietly behind his two younger sisters, Greta and Izzy,  and waited for the pastor to begin. There were two other girls present, also sisters, a third grader named Molly and her two year old sister Lindy.

Lindy is reminiscent of a Hummel figurine with her round little face, big blue eyes and blonde curls. Adorable and innocence, personified. Until…

The pastor sat on the floor with the kids, explaining that the Christmas Season was over and Epiphany, the Season of Light, began today…

Lindy’s head perked up and snapped to the vacant area that was occupied by the Nativity Scene just last week. Her little arm shot out from her lap as she pointed to the vacant spot.

Where’s Baby Jesus?!’ She demanded.

Pastor Dennis patiently explained that Christmas was over and that Baby Jesus was safe. His statue had been carefully stored with the rest of the Christmas figurines.

‘But I like him…’ the little tot lamented.

Finally, after the pastor explained that Jesus was still with us in our hearts, and it was just his statue that had been put away, Lindy began to soften a little.  She still looked skeptical, but she settled down when he promised to bring the Nativity figurines out again next Christmas.

Time passed…Epiphany was over and Lent began…

We shared soup suppers and Wednesday evening worship services with several other area churches in addition to our usual Sunday services.

One particular Sunday morning, Holy Communion was being served by intinction instead of at the altar. With intinction, the pastor and his assistant stood at the at the front of the church with the Articles of Communion.  We formed a line, accepted a wafer from Pastor Dennis, then dipped it in the challis of wine offered by his helper before going back to our seats via the outside aisle. 

Lindy’s father held his two year old daughter in his arms as he waited his turn before accepting his wafer, dipping it in the wine and returning to his pew.

All went well until he finished and turned quietly to walk back to his seat. That’s when little Lindy objected. Strongly.

Nooooooo, Daddy! I want some toooooooo!’ she wailed loudly as he quickened his step down the outside aisle. ‘Go back!‘  Mommy must have had a treat stashed in her purse because Lindy quieted quickly after she sat down.

We traveled through Lent and into the Easter Season…

On Easter morning, ten or twelve very excited children sat cross-legged on the floor in front of the church to listen to the Children’s Sermon.

Izzy, a brown haired three year old girl sat wearing her new spring-like pink dress and wide-brimmed Robin’s egg blue Easter hat; a sharp contrast to the snow that was falling outside.

Pastor Dennis began his message by saying that Easter was a time of rebirth…of newness. ‘When it stops snowing, and all the snow melts,’ he promised, ‘new grass will begin to grow, and flowers will bloom. New baby animals will be born.’ To illustrate further, he asked the kid’s if they had gotten any new clothes for spring. Several heads eagerly bobbed up and down.

I have something new for you, too,’ he explained as he picked up a sack filled with goodies.

Adults craned their necks to see…

The children’s eyes lit up and they began to clap their hands and bounce in anticipation as he opened the bag.

He pulled out a handful of sunglasses…pink and purple glittery ones for the girls and blue and green plastic-framed ones for the boys.

Ooh!’ They crooned in unison. ‘I like the purple ones,’ one little girl stated as he handed them out.

‘Okay,’ he said. ‘You can put your new sunglasses on and go back and sit with your families.’

The kids, led by Izzy, who was hamming it up to the max, processed down the center aisle as if it was a runway at a fashion show in Paris, first turning to the left, then to the right, showing off their pretty glasses and Easter outfits. A few kids got caught up in the moment and overshot their pews and had to be chased down the aisle by a family member, usually a lucky sibling.

Eventually, the Easter Season turned to Pentecost…

This first Sunday morning in June dawned bright and sunny, and a wee bit chilly with a crisp northerly breeze. Spring was slow in coming to northern Minnesota this year.

After the clouds, wind and rain yesterday, sunshine was a welcome change even as it reflected off the windshields in the parking lot and streamed through the church windows right into the eyes of the parishioners in the front pews on the right side of the church. We compensated by shifting a bit to the right to avoid the blinding white light. We had to…we didn’t want to miss a minute of the Children’s Message.  

A handful of kids gathered near the altar for their sermon. Pastor Dennis was teaching them that Pentecost was a season to focus on various aspects of faith, especially the mission of the church in the world, when Lindy spoke up…

‘I had eggs for breakfast,’ she announced proudly.

Pastor Dennis is good with kids, and isn’t easily derailed. ‘Were your eggs good?’

She nodded, patting her stomach. ‘Really good!’

‘I only had cereal,’ he said.

Lindy looked up at him, her blue eyes wide, ‘You need to buy eggs,’ she said sagely, eliciting a round of polite laughter from the congregation.

After worship, we gathered in the church basement for coffee and fellowship…

Pastor Dennis was walking by Lindy when she called, ‘Pastor Dennis! Pastor Dennis…’

He stopped. ‘Yes, Lindy?’

She peered up at him with her big blue eyes and asked, ‘Is it Pentecost?’

Those of us within earshot, including both of Lindy’s parents, shook our heads and stared speechlessly at the precocious little two and a half year old.

‘She talked about breakfast during the Children’s Sermon…’ one commented.  

‘I didn’t think she was paying attention to what Dennis was saying…’  said another.

Her father shook his head, saying ‘We just never know what she’s going to say…’

One Comment
  1. Greg Frosig permalink

    Loved your post, Karen. We might have to visit your church after Greg’s surgery just to hear Pastor Dennis’ children’s sermons. 🙂

    Sent from my iPhone

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