Sundays we start early, to worship, to make music, listen and learn, celebrate with a diverse group of friends gathered under one roof. Once a week.
I wish I could say my family members and I rise with the song of birds, and the kids rush downstairs saying, "Can we go now, Mother? We're ready and our shoes are polished." (Actually, that would be a little scary, I guess.)
More likely, one daughter is wearing her younger brother's shoes because someone has "stolen" hers. The other daughter probably has forgotten to brush her hair, and the parents don't notice until seated in the sanctuary. The boys...well, they're easier on the prep side of things, but had better be chewing gum on hand once the sitting still part begins.
We are that family you regret sitting behind. :)
So, it's not a Norman Rockwell painting, afterall. But the setting aside one small portion of our week--adults and children--to gather with other believers, centering our focus together towards something beyond and greater than ourselves, reminding ourselves...that matters. It's more than a ritual or tradition, though it is also that. Even in those fidgety moments toward the end of a sermon, we and our kids--we believe--are taking in something that will stay. Our spirits are being provoked toward a knowledge of purpose and truth and love that surpasses ANYTHING else we will encounter in this world.
Food. Necessary spirit food.
Yesterday afternoon, following church and lunch (and my weekly nap)...we walked down the street to the home of our neighbors (scientist/artist wife & drummer/beekeeper husband), who were hosting a drum circle. We brought two extra kids and a rather wild assortment of broken percussion instruments and djembes, several years old.
Another family was there, too. We sat on chairs and pillows; baskets of noisemakers passed around. One person set a rhythm, and it fell to the others to listen to the pattern and then join. We sat in a circle and beat rhythms--which is, by the way, quite therapeutic--until after some time (an hour?), the final and best "song" was beaten out.
It may seem a strange way to pass the time...something better left to the children.
Food...necessary spirit food.
To gather, circle, and center around something that is bigger than any one of us. Beyond and other than me. More beautiful than my solitary song.