…and she sucked my thumb

One of the things I enjoy about the congregations I serve are the children.  On the Sundays when there are a number of kids in worship it can become quite a zoo, but I don’t mind.  One particular 3 year old likes to explore the sanctuary…during worship.  His mom usually has a horrified look on her face when she chases him down; thinking I am going to get mad, but I never do.  One little girl used to stand on the pew during the offering; holding a dollar bill and yell “Eric…I got your money!”  One Sunday, when I was preaching from the floor with a music stand, the little boy that likes to explore the sanctuary decided he wanted a better view.  He came down the center aisle and stood right in front of me; looking and listening (Try to stay focused during a sermon with that).

But this past Sunday a very cute moment took place for me.  We were down stairs enjoying another magnificent Salem Lutheran Church potluck.  I was sitting at a table with a friend of ours (a member at Salem) who has a six month old little girl.  She was born about 5 weeks early and I can remember being very nervous holding her after she was born.  She was so tiny.  But now Chloe is getting bigger.  Anyway…this past Sunday Chloe was in a very good mood; smiling at everyone (I hope she stays that cute).  After I finished eating I got my opportunity to hold Chloe.  In the process of holding her apparently my thumb got a little too close to her mouth.  Just then she grabbed my thumb with her two tiny hands…and she sucked my thumb.  Actually she was gumming it.  I thought that was the cutest thing ever.  I would pull my thumb away and she would grab it again and suck on it.  Everyone around laughed.  Maybe I had some left over hot dish on my thumb…I don’t know, but it was a moment I will cherish.  If I am here long enough to have Chloe in Release Time or Confirmation I look forward to embarrassing her with that story.

I know some people are annoyed when children “disrupt” worship but if there are no “disruptions” in worship then there is no children.  If there are no children…well…you do the math.  I cherish “disruptions” and thumb sucking moments with children.  It reminds me that we are to have the faith of children; freely expressing oneself without worrying about what people are thinking about you.

What if WE actually lived our faith like children…free and without worry?  Hmmm…


6 thoughts on “…and she sucked my thumb

  1. Well said!

    In Matthew 14, Jesus says “…do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” Sometimes I think that if we adults could simply let go and worship God as children often do, without fear of criticism or judgement from others, the world would be a vastly different — and better — place 🙂

  2. I agree with you…the world would be vastly better. I have worshiped at places where people feel free to raise their hands to God in worship, but others do not. I am willing to bet that many people do not raise there hands because they are afraid of what others will think. If someone came to Salem and raised their hands while singing, they would get a lot of stares.

    As adults, mature (or immature) in faith, we need to worship as children. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Amen. My pastor encourages children of all ages to be a part of the service in every way. There’s so much we can learn from them!

  4. Often times people think children aren’t paying attention and maybe that is the case a lot of the time. But I remember a sermon I was preaching when I was on the floor, in the aisle and one of my 3rd grade girls was in the back peering around a bigger adult in front of her trying to see me. She never took her eyes off me. Children deserve more credit than they typically get.

  5. It is hard for parents when they think their child is noisy or disruptive. They need to hear repeatedly from the pastor that kids are OK. Hope you don’t have “shushers” in your church. But sometimes the elderly whose hearing is failing are worse than kids! Our church has acoustics that dampen sound, so that bad quality does have one advantage for parents.

    ps when I was confirmation age, back in my home church, we had ushers who were shushers. Once I was chatting a bit too much with my friend and the shusher pulled me out of the pew and took be too the back.

  6. I try to reassure parents often that the “disruptions” in worship are fine. As for the “shushers” I know I have some but they also know not to shush too long because they know how I feel about children in worship. But I also understand that if a child is getting too disruptive then the parents need to do something about it. There is a fine line that we need to tread but I would rather error on the side of being welcoming rather than being selfish by “shushing” people.

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