One Sabbath morning in church, my wife was scheduled to do the Responsive Scripture Reading. She is seldom on the platform, and our daughter and our two boys, and I exchanged glances of proud approval as she sat up there so saint -like with the elder of the week. As she sat there waiting for her part in the service, the children began the tradition at our church of collecting funds for the church school before the Children’ Story.
As our 5 year old daughter went around smiling to the members as she collected their gifts, I called her back over and quickly whispered to her, “Run up to your mother and give her a big hug and kiss before you sit down for the story.” Her face lit up in delight and she took off bounding down the aisle to the platform ……as every eye in the church turned to see what child was so irreverently running in church. She leaped up on the platform and gave her mommy that big hug and kiss. With every eye still on her, she promptly turned with her big adorable smile and leaped over all four steps to her seat on the front pew, ready for the story. Her mother turned red in obvious embarrassment while I tried to defend her by saying to all those near me that she is just a very happy girl. After the story, momma called her back up and attempted to explain proper sanctuary educate in 10 seconds.
My wife went on to lead the congregation in the responsive reading from Luke 15 and the Parable of the Lost Son. I was impressed with her almost melodic voice as she read each verse. I especially enjoy the part of this rich, refined, reverent father, seeing his son far off, begin sprinting towards him. I know from studying this passage that this action by the father is unheard of in the proper, sophisticated, and cultured Jewish society. The reading ended with the congregation all repeating the famous words of the jubilant father, “…this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate”
Our service continued with our pastor speaking on Revelation 19, describing in dazzling detail the marriage supper of the Lamb. He went on to illustrate how he would feel if he was there in this great scene in heaven. Like the crippled beggar healed by Peter and John outside the temple gate Beautiful, he would be “walking and jumping and praising God.”
I pondered this thought of the beggar running and jumping and praising God in the temple courts, of the father springing to his feet, dashing to the prodigal son, of our 70 year old pastor running into the arms of Jesus and of my daughter ecstatically running to her beloved momma.
Yes, I believe in church reverence, but I also believe that there are times when God accepts our irreverent excitement. After all isn’t our cry, “I was dead and this Father of mine made me alive again; I was lost, and He found me.” Have you done any irreverent “running” lately?
Is this kind of irreverence actually irreverance? Is it exuberance, like that of a child for its parent? Is it the fervent exuberance of a father who has regained his son? Is the exuberance part of personality, that thing that He created in us to His pleasure? I think it best to show appreciation for your write through the questions it provoked. Well done!