I struggled to muster a smile as I read the list posted on the bulletin board. There it was in black and white. The thing I dreaded more than shaving by candlelight with a rusty sheetrock knife had made its way back into my life:
I have Childrenís Church this month!
Iíll give you a minute. Go ahead and gasp. You might even throw in a few heartfelt pleas for my useless soul while you are at it. I just want you to know that Iím really not a bad guy. Itís not like I hate the kids or anything. I have several of my own, many of whom I really like.
Why then, you may be asking, did I volunteer to work in Childrenís Church? If you have been a part of church more frequently than Easter services and the occasional church social that allows you to flaunt your considerable casserole skills, you are aware that working Childrenís Church really only requires one qualification: You must have kids of your own.
Thatís right. You donít have to be ďcalledĒ. You donít have to be ďgiftedĒ. You donít even have to be a good parent. You just have to have enough of a conscience to feel that twinge of guilt when you pick up your kids after services and see some poor adult curled up in the fetal position under a pile of colorful blocks reciting the Lordís Prayer in Latin.
Before you go crossing me off the list of those you might bump into when you stroll those streets of gold someday, remember that you fall into one of two categories:
Those who have never worked in Childrenís Church and those who know exactly what I am talking about.
Jesus said, ďSuffer the little children.Ē He understood. Yes, I know I am taking it out of context. Maybe He was warning us in code. I donít know. I just know that as much as I love children, I am lousy at leading a service designed with five year olds in mind. There are many reasons I know this to be true, but Iíll site just a few to bolster my position.
I canít make Motherís Day cards out of elbow macaroni, soup can labels and purple glitter.
I have injured myself doing the body motions to ďFather AbrahamĒ severely enough that therapy was required.
Vanilla Wafers and red Kool-Aid make me gag. (Additional note: Red Kool-Aid permanently stains air)
No matter how hard you try to convince me, two thread spools, a metal washer, four pipe cleaners and a handful of mini marshmallows do NOT look like John the Baptist.
My pastor says that when are seeking our place in the family of God, we should gravitate toward the things that energize us. I think that is true. There are lots of things that I participate in at my church that truly brings me joy. I have always felt that when you work for God that it really shouldnít feel like work. Not in the traditional sense anyway.
That philosophy however, doesnít line up with my duties in Childrenís Church. I guess sometimes you canít pick and choose your responsibilities when you are working in the Kingdom. If you could, Iím sure Paul would have stayed in more hotels and fewer jails.
So this Sunday Iíll put on my best (Scotch guarded) suit and Iíll head to Childrenís Church. Iíll sing the songs. Iíll act out the part of the paralyzed guy at the pool. Iíll let the Johnseyís kid, the one with the perpetually runny nose, sit in my lap. Iíll put a band-aid on Stacy Corleyís teddy bear with the eye missing that looks as if it were attacked and severely beaten by the seamier Muppets on Sesame Street. Iíll sacrifice another dress shirt on the altar of cherry Kool-Aid.
Who knows? Somewhere between getting Elmerís glue out of the twinsí hair and getting the Portsonís kid to blow hard enough to get the bead dislodged from his nostril, I might be able to teach them a thing or two about how much Jesus loves them.
With any luck, theyíll remind me of the wonder of being tall enough to see a gumball come out of the machine at eye level. Maybe then they can teach me a thing or two about how Jesus loves me too.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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