This continues my post from yesterday about passing on the faith.
I also noticed how children pick up on the special sacredness of the sacraments.. My girls would crane their necks and smile when a baby was baptized. Then they might ask about their own baptism; one little boy at our current church, stands up straight and tall, like a little soldier, as the Pastor blesses him during the Lord’s Supper. He’s proud to be one of Gods’ people.
Do you think children aren’t paying attention during the service? They are. Here are just a few of the questions my daughters and granddaughter asked me over the years:
Why is one of the advent candles pink?
What is a diadem?
What is that big candle (the Christ candle) and why don’t we light it all the time?
Why does the Pastor turn his back on the congregation while we pray?
And finally (hilariously) ….Why does granddaddy, (the Pastor), need all that money?
These are important, teachable moments, which I cherished and used to initiate discussions about what we believe and why we do the things we do.
Of course, there are many traditions that take place outside of the sanctuary. Through these my children learned that the household of God is just like any other family. They got together to have fun and learn (Vacation Bible School), eat (Lenten soup dinners), make some money (annual yard sale), decorate (especially the big Christmas tree!), play games (New Year’s Eve party), take a turn at cleaning the church (not a big favorite) and help others (like the Group Home residents who were members of our congregation). Memories like these reinforce Christian values. Little by little they shape our identity. They influence how we think, what we value and what we do. Together the separate pieces of congregational life create a beautiful mosaic that depicts the life of Christ in his body, the Church.
So, what can I say? Make the traditions of the church your family traditions. The foundation you build will last through eternity.