Monday, November 13, 2006

Light Thinking

I’ve been thinking a lot about the simplicity and complexity of Christ and the Christian walk. I’ve been thinking a lot about the misuse of such complexities, and the abuse of over-simplification.

I’ve been thinking a lot about James, and the sects that don’t like James and why, and the sects that embrace James when they can get away with only part of his teachings.

I’ve been thinking about my place in that spectrum, and how my thinking should be altered or challenged.

I was thinking about all that while waiting for mass to begin this morning, because Miguel and I got to the church early, so there was plenty of time for thinking.

And while I was thinking, the little girl in front of me gasped. She had spied the candles that led the processional behind us; she realized that a parade was in progress.

Her eyes went wide, her mouth forming a soundless “O”; she stared and followed the light and the cross and the Word as it moved among us.

She made a single clap, holding her hands tight around the sheer wonder of the moment, not willing to let it go.

And I thought that I think too much, and cleared my mind to make space for childish wonder.

Just my thoughts,

Sean

5 comments:

Linds said...

I've always thought that every church should let small children stay in the service. I remember the first time I attended a service at our church in Placentia and saw the service through the eyes of a child. I couldn't believe how profound a theology it became to me, and I couldn't believe I'd spent my whole life in a church without ever seeing a child younger than 7 or 8 in the service. Now if there isn't a baby there, I feel I'm missing something - and maybe I am. I mean, we're a family in the body of Christ, right? Family members are missing! :)

DanBuck said...

This sounds nice, but has anybody asked the parents if they mind surrendering their worship for your theology?

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Sean. Fantastic musings & wonderful seeing of what was available to you & then grabbing hold and going there.
As Hannah G., the young daughter of our sound tech, said last year when she heard there would be no children's choir that year during Christmas Eve service, "People, it's about a baby." Needless to say the decision to not have a children's choir was rethought.

Gaffney said...

Alice -- nice. Love it, and plan on stealing it.

Linds -- To be honest, I agree with you when the children lend me insight and wonder; and disagree when they are a screaming babe or a misbehaving toddler (or jabbering teen, come to think of it). It is all about me, isn't it?

Dan -- Slow down, there, mister. I'm sure that Linds' church doesn't force parents at gunpoint to bring their children into the service; just as I know for a fact that there are plenty of churches with nurseries and such for folks that don't want to have their kids around them when they worship.

As for me, no I did not ask the parents who chose to have their kid at mass whether they minded surrendering their worship for my theology. I guess I just assumed that they were the adults in the situation.

jmt,

sean

Linds said...

Our priest was a 3rd degree black belt, so he didn't need a gun to force parents to keep screaming toddlers in the service. :)

Seriously though, I thought it was bizarre and didn't expect it at all. After all, I come from the land of children should be seen and not heard, and I fully expected parents to leave the kids to the nursery in order to focus on the service. I thought it was weird until I asked around and several of the parents explained to me their opinion that if they couldn't see Christ's presence in a fussy baby, their priorities were out of whack.

I'm not saying it's for everyone, I'm just saying it makes more sense to me than the alternative.