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 each.individual.stair.to.the.basement.and.back.up.again, 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.