Preparing for Worship

by | Mar 15, 2024 | Preparing For Worship

Back in August my daughter started kindergarten, which means she also started joining us in the Sanctuary for worship. She had spent the previous year watching her brother go to “big church” and was so excited when it was finally her turn. She was wide-eyed and a bit giddy that first Sunday, so imagine Steven’s and my surprise when, after the first hymn, we looked over at her and saw her crying. I leaned down to ask what was wrong, and she said, “I didn’t know that song, and I can’t read, so I couldn’t sing with you.” She was crushed, and so were we.

As all parents do, we tried to ease her pain by telling her that over time she would come to know and even memorize these hymns, and that a lot of kids learn to read in kindergarten, so she would soon be able to sing along. “When?” was her obvious reply. Realizing we couldn’t put a date on it, we responded, “When it’s time.” I don’t have to tell you that wasn’t the answer she wanted.

Slowly but surely, she has found her place on Sunday mornings. We encouraged her to stand with us, and we pointed out the words to her in the hymnal so she could follow along. She noticed “sight words” she was learning in class. Then, sure enough, she started to recognize a few melodies, and this past month she started reading. Suddenly she is reaching for the hymnal in the back of the pew and using her index finger to follow along, no longer looking to her dad or me for assistance. The time finally came, and she was ready.

Like fruits that ripen on the vine at different times, so too is the life of faith. Our world loves the illusion of control, so we schedule and make plans instead of allowing, which is the posture needed for the transformative work of faith. What might happen in this next hour if we practiced the act of allowing? If we practiced unfolding instead of clenching to our own timelines of growth, trusting that God will work with what is already within us and holding a posture of curiosity for how it will grow in time? Let’s practice being malleable, my friends, and celebrate our growth together.