I know all the reasons why you don’t want to teach Sunday School. I’ve seen the horror strike your face when you see an enthusiastic Christian Ed member with a clipboard marching toward you on Rally Sunday. I do understand the yearning to collapse into the simplicity of our elegant sanctuary and allow the music and words to wash over your soul, to just BE for a heavenly pocket of time without anyone yanking on your sleeve or whining about the injustices that emerge from sibling rivalry. I have three kids and they all play sports; coaches alert us about changes in practice schedules hours before, driving shenanigans and carpools get changed over and over via text, somebody always loses a water bottle and is thirsty. My kitchen can resemble a war zone when I leave the house on Sunday morning, a pile of dirty dishes on the counter and Legos scattered on the floor. I get it – why would you leave one chaotic mess to pursue your faith with the chaotic mess of someone else’s children, especially when the very grown-up peace of the sanctuary is just steps away, when you can hear the grown-up music and hymns in the distance while you mind their children?! Those of you who are grandparents and/or empty nesters tell me that you are “done” with children, and although I am not there in life experience, I can almost imagine why you may feel that way. Some of you are concerned about your lack of biblical training. Others tell me that you are inexperienced with children. Many of you are craving spiritual inspiration and are honest about your need to receive the Good News – that’s fantastic.
Here’s the deal – I LOVE your children, our children. Our children amaze me. I delight in their questions, the uncensored curiosities, the wiggly bodies that refuse to be tamed. I never tire of their wonder: the lightbulb face that comprehends something for the first time or the awe of a observing a crawling spider. I don’t mind that they ask for thirds of communion and almost always dribble the blood of Christ when we serve in the classrooms. I believe completely and entirely that what happens in the sanctuary on a Sunday morning is holy, and that holiness is happening in every nook and cranny of our historic New England church, from the cries in the nursery to the questions of the kindergarteners to the sweaty pile of teens crammed in the parlor. Anywhere where we are gathered to work on our faith is a sacred place and God is there. Pilgrim Church aspires to teach every child that they are loved, lovable, and worthy of God. I believe that one of the most critical ways we can LIVE our Christian faith is to nurture our children’s interior lives, be their community, learn from them, invest our care into the future.
Please, spend one Sunday morning with the children – less than an hour, we provide a lesson plan and all the supplies – and love them. Listen (in some classes, all you do is introduce yourself and the gabbing doesn’t stop!). Know that when you volunteer you are indeed making a difference for the children; but even more, if you are open to it, you are making a difference for YOU! You are also a student of faith and there is so much to learn from these young, unfiltered people. Allow the scriptures to speak to you through them, and hear them anew. God speaks through these timeless stories and isn’t it amazing that you can be a guide in that conversation? Let go! Laugh a little. Forget about the mess. Aside from the incident when a toy was accidentally hurled through a glass window, there hasn’t been anything that can’t be fixed or cleaned up.
There’s more Good News – the kids don’t care if you are biblically trained or if you read the scripture before Saturday night. The kids don’t care if your house is a mess. They don’t care if you fumble or forget something or say the “wrong” thing. They DO care that you care. We’re building the body of Christ together when we deepen our relationships across the generations; if we’re serious about being unified as one, than we must love and live that way.