Monday, November 26, 2007

So Mary, How's Jesus Doing in School?

We try to go to church as often as possible. This equates to about 1 or 2 times per month, but it’s enough to keep God in Sammy’s little head. The twins aren’t old enough to actually sit in church yet, so they hang out in the playroom with Miss Wendy (we love Miss Wendy).

Sam goes to children’s chapel for the first half of the service, then marches upstairs with the rest of the kids and sits with us for the second half of the service. Half of Sam’s time is the sermon. Why? Torture. The other half is the eucharist, which we are hoping that he will at least join in the Lord’s Prayer the next time we go.

Who in their right mind thinks that a kindergartener will sit and listen to an old guy/lady speaking in a near monotone voice about things they know almost nothing about. It’s like Leah trying to tell me about makeup. I hear “And this one . . . blah blah blah blah . . .”

I have a lot of sympathy for Sam’s predicament. I myself experienced the same suffering as a child. I think it’s some sort of rite of passage. Needless to say, we bring with us some sort of writing utensil for Sam to entertain himself with in order to fend off the squirmies.

Sam sits down with us. We sing a hymn. The priest steps up into the pulpit. Leah reaches into the magic Mommy bag and retrieves a pen, which will be the savior of us all. Sam plops himself down on the kneeler and starts to scribble. This has been the same for eight months (with most of the summer off, of course).

But these days, Sam has other distractions. Sam has Miss Grace. Miss Grace is the daughter of friends of ours. She sings in the choir. Sam spent some quality time with Miss Grace a few weeks ago when we went to her house for dinner.

Sam loves Miss Grace.

Grace, as she so aptly lives up to her name, treats Sam like he was the only boy in the world. She is eleven years old and mature beyond her years, but only in the most positive ways. She is an awesome kid.

At first, Sam could not even talk to her. She would smile and say hi, and he would turn beet red and bury his face in my side. But Sam has grown bolder over time. This past Sunday, Grace was standing in the back of the church, getting ready to walk down the aisle to take communion. Sam turned around. She mouthed “hi Sam”, and gave him a little wave.

In the middle of church, Sam winked at her.

Good God, indeed.

But Sam’s religious escapades don’t end there. Nosiree. While walking up to communion, Sam stopped, looked up at me, and asked, "Did God die?" Not having time to think about the answer, I replied, "No pal, God lives forever. His son Jesus died, but he came back." You could see the smoke coming out of his ears as he tried to figure that one out. Later that morning, Leah and I sat down with him and tried, though not very well, to explain the resurrection. Have you ever thought about trying to explain your faith to a 5 year old?

But the topper of the entire morning, for me at least, was this: Instead of the usual scribbles this week, he decided to do something a little more productive.

Like math equations.