The other neighborhood kids get to go. Most of the yards are deserted and I have to play by myself. I'd stay inside, but Mom is still asleep and my Dad doesn't let me make any racket until she's up.
But, don't get me wrong; Dad's a good guy. He lets me eat whatever I want for breakfast and go almost anywhere I want on my bike. My other friends have all these rules at their houses. They have to check in or call to ask 'mission about where they are going, poor guys!
I learned a long time ago, though, not even to mention going to the church a couple of blocks away. My parents don't think much of God, I guess. Can't figure out what He's ever done for them, they said when I asked one day.
"Jimmy said Jesus loves all of us, even if we don't want Him to," I managed to contradict that long time ago.
"Now, Kirk, we've told you over and over again, you can't believe everything kids tell you. If Jimmy told you that a dinosaur was hiding under your bed, would you believe him?"
"Nah, dinosaurs would be too big to get into our house, let alone fitting under a bed!" I giggled at this impossibility, but I guess dad wasn't in a good mood, 'cause he just told me to stay away from those hippo krytes at that church and said that all they want is money to pay for a bunch of nonsense.
Well, since I don't have any--money, I mean--I didn't figure THAT would be a problem. And now, it's not just Jimmy--Zach and Pete are bragging about how they get to sing rap songs at Sunday School there. And they're always joking around about these Bible stories that sound like neat fairy tales. Then, to top it all off, the littlest guy on our block, Robbie, came back from that church last week, spouting off about free donuts and cookies until I began to think that maybe my Dad was mistaken about the place.
NOW, it's Sunday again, I'm bored stiff and tired of riding my bike to nowhere. As if to become my faithful partner in crime, my steed sails past Mrs. Green's rosebushes, turning the corner sharply to angle into the church parking lot. I dismount and swagger to the door as if I've come here very Sunday all of my life, following the signs and arrows to "Children's Sunday School Classes". Canned music rings out from behind a movie screen where I finally find the neighborhood gang swaying and clapping to the catchy beat. They are all SO shocked and happy I am finally joining them! We grin at each other and this pretty lady teacher thanks me for coming as she shakes my hand.
And, every week I learn. That Jesus loves me . . . about Jonah and the whale . . . about Noah and the ark . . . about baby Moses in the river . . . about the meanies who killed Jesus and about HEAVEN. And that Jesus loves ME! And about things He did on earth called miracles, like feeding 5,000 people with a kid's measly lunch and making a crippled man walk and about Jesus yelling at his friends because they weren't letting kids get close to Him. I sure know what THAT'S like, and I was real glad Jesus told them 'what-for'!
It wasn't long before my Sunday School teacher came to visit and my Mom and Dad found out where I was spending my Sunday mornings. Turns out my Mom and her work together at the same factory and already know each other! It took a while, but Mrs. Kitty talked my Mom into coming to a ladies group, and now we both walk to Sunday School together!
We're all praying that my Dad will come to Sunday School with us--will you pray for him, too?
Oh, and by the way, now my house has rules, too, but I really kind of like them!
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