I gave my kids a piece of candy before the Easter service, I’ll admit. It’s just that they asked, and they had cute little baskets from Dad’s, and they were cute, and it was my favorite holiday.
It was a mistake, because on the ride from their dad’s house, between the sugar and the excitement of the holiday, they were incredibly boisterous (read: tiresome, if cute).
We got to the service and they were still wiggly and excited, exclaiming about friends and Easter lilies. But soon after the service began, once things were more subdued, all three of them totally crashed. They were literally lying down in the pew and on me and on Leon. Everyone was all over me, periodically squabbling about whose knee was in their back.
Normally my church has kids be part of the service for about the first half, after which the youngest set (including my two sons) goes on to “Spark,” where they have a Sunday school lesson and play. Sometimes they try to stay with me, and I always encourage them to go, knowing they’ll have more fun. But on certain days, including Easter, the children stay in the service to celebrate with us. When we came back to the pew, Asher said, “Oh, is there no Spark?” and was disappointed. Noah didn’t seem to think about it.
Selah often sort of tunes out during the service, which is unsurprising because that’s what she does everywhere–reads, thinks, dreams. Throughout the sermon, during which the lights were dimmed, her brothers stayed sort of flopped over in the pew, Asher leaning on me, and Noah on Leon’s lap. But today, Selah really perked up during Pastor Ivan’s sermon, which started out with a call to pay attention to the description of Mary Magdalene and a lot of enthusiastic detail. Then, when he read the empty tomb story from John, he really made it sound like an interesting story featuring a very outraged Mary, who thought her beloved Jesus had been taken. I think that was enough to keep Selah going, and so she heard his entire message, how Mary Magdalene was called to be the first apostle, sent to send the good news to a group of men. It was a sermon about the good news of Jesus and the good news of equality, and the ability of people of all genders, classes, races, sexual orientations, etc., to be apostles, preachers, the mouthpieces of God. It was wonderful, and it was wonderful to see my girl so engaged and listening to a message that seemed so perfect for her.
Then, suddenly, as Ivan seemed to be working into the conclusion of his sermon, Noah sort of snapped out of his dormant state and looked around at the quiet, darkened pews. In confusion and disbelief, as if noticing for the first time that there were no Legos or dolls, he said, “What are we even DOING here? There’s nothing to do!!”