Glad I’m Not Fasting from the Sunday Nap

It’s actually here:  June has arrived, and Newberg Friends Church has begun a six week corporate fast (lots of helpful linky links on the webpage).   Well,  Newberg Friends has begun an  “optional” six week corporate fast, i.e.  many of the adult Sunday School classes are still meeting, but I think addressing what it means to be the corporate body of Christ, setting aside preferences for the sake of others, and laying down some of that individualism we as Quakers love SO very dearly almost to our dying denomination’s detriment is probably another post in itself.

Because this post is about the fun we had on Sunday morning:  so much fun that Abel fell asleep in his high chair during lunch and Judah slept almost 12 hours straight last night.  Now *that’s* a great Sunday.

Jason and I were a bit wary.  We knew this Sunday was coming, the day when all the kids and youth would be in worship with us.  And we also knew that the nursery and the 3’s class would still be in session for our kids to be deposited into.  But it seemed a tad hypocritical to speak for weeks on what a wonderful time this could be to see our full faith community and experience the life and joy and reality of truly corporate worship, you know, minus my kids.

So I prepared:  I packed books and snacks and a sudoku book and pens in my Mary Poppins bag.  I remember a few years ago sitting by a family with young boys, and every Sunday the mom would pull out coloring books and snacks and activities for them to do.  Newly married, and minus the whirling dervishes known as my children, I would look over and think, “Why do these kids have to be entertained?  Why can’t they just sit?  What is wrong with her and her parenting that these boys have to be distracted during service?”  My, oh my, oh my, I should’ve known that that would be a small glimpse into my future.  Because, you see, at least her kids *SAT*.  Sigh.

And so we “congregated” in the very back of the balcony where we could quickly exit if need be and small people could climb under pews with the least amount of distraction and smaller people could crawl on the floor and not conk their noggins and yowl.

It went as well as could be expected.  🙂

People only had to stop Judah from hanging precariously over the balcony once and out the second story window once.  Abel only shouted at his pacifier a few times, during quiet time, of course.  Judah conked his noggin once, had to go to the bathroom once meaning stomping up and down, and mostly worked his army skills climbing under benches.  We only bothered our neighbors a few times (one of them being the president of the university, i.e. my hubby’s ultimate boss – lovely).  Judah sang the songs while Abel and I danced.  Judah ate triskets while Abel stalked him yelling “DIT DIT DIT DIT” and we quickly threw him a piece of chunky cereal to pacify the restless native.  Judah loved seeing “Opal and Pearl” (i.e. Sandra Fish and Teacher Miriam) all dressed up and acting like two crazy old ladies not understanding the concept of the fast (“I tried to tell the officer about the fast, but he didn’t seem to think that applied to my driving here”).

People talked to each other.  People sang and laughed and praised.  Afterwards we congregated on the lawn for muffins and coffee.  While the adults chatted and the little boys ran amuck, I looked at Jason and said, “This is church.”  Minus being able to maintain eye contact with the adults because I was having to monitor too many roads that small people could run out in, this was just like when I was a kid after church:  parents chatting and happy, kids being kids, food and beverage being enjoyed, worshiping and fellowshipping.

Which, apparently, is exhausting.  Who knew I needed to build up my fellowshipping endurance?  Believe me, that’s something that I won’t mind putting effort into.

4 thoughts on “Glad I’m Not Fasting from the Sunday Nap

  1. Judy Woolsey

    AJ, We weren’t sure quite what to expect in the corporate family-friendly worship, either, but as your nearest neighbors in worship Sunday, we want you to know we loved worshiping with your family! We have been through those days, with a diaper bag packed with maybe two diapers, but also containers of cereal, crackers, juice, toy cars, coloring books and “quiet books”, etc. The quiet books held no appeal, by the way. I noticed that both your boys seemed to be happy throughout the service, except for the conk on the noggin, and even that was handled with no wailing. And I’m glad you’ve recovered from the exhaustion enough to want to do it again! And yes, we were able to worship, too.

  2. Jill

    I can so relate. My experience at Sunday worship was overall positive, but I have to swallow some, let’s say, embarrassment and my desire to appear in control of my offspring. One son created a paper gun at the front of the sanctuary to shoot his friends with and the other tried to electrocute himself next to the podium (he really likes an audience) (saved by Pastor Gregg). But after I swallow (hard) I am left with a sweet taste, the taste of true community, the community that took part in the dedication of my offspring to God, about 5 years ago and 3 years ago. The sweetness was the gracious pew mates allowing the repeated in-and-out of my two young boys going back and forth from the toys I provided (magnetic rocks and silly putty) and the paper, scissors, crayons and independence provided by some ingenious folks at NFC. The sweetness was also the friend intervening in the uh use of paper and scissors to create weaponry. And the sweetness was Pastor Elizabeth noticing my almost 3 year old and participating to his “show and tell” about his silly putty during the service, (not to mention Gregg’s saving his life). What an amazing community is NFC. I think God was worshiped by these sweet acts. And my kids are not the only beneficiaries. I have the opportunity to lean into the promise that this community has given to us that they will be partners in loving our children and they will help Corey and me in training our children in they way they should go. I wonder how well I worship when I am concerned with my appearance of being in control of my children, or of anything, visible to humans or only God. We are a community so we can help each other and maybe in so doing we worship God and allow our sisters and brothers to worship.

  3. Paula Hampton

    I don’t see a post after 6/9, but I’m hoping you felt the same sense of fellowship, especially since I enjoyed worshipping with your little guy Abel as we walked outside. I enjoyed the energy level in the sanctuary on Sunday… I know it’s hard to be the mom when the kids are running (seemingly) amuck, but it’s worth the effort. Really. We had our kids with us (usually early service) all the time when they were little, and believe it or not, they do learn how to be quiet most of the time! I appreciate Jill’s comments, too. I love you guys and love to see your kids with you in worship!

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