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Thanks to All for a GREAT Children’s Sunday at Franklin Federated Church!

June 4, 2013

But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.

–Mark 10:14 (NRSV)

Once a year the kids take over worship at Franklin Federated.

Well, “take over” is a strong language. In truth, the kids are celebrated and worship is really more tailored to their tastes for one Sunday. In truth, I would be happy for the kids to completely take over and run worship on Sunday mornings now and again. But I have three kids under the age of nine, so there’s an “awww” factor in having your own kids take the reigns.

The truth is, it takes a lot of people to make this work. The kids light the candles, and they were young enough that they needed adults escorting them on their way (thanks Julia). Then someone stands with a clipboard (thanks Erin) and shepherds each part of the service along, making sure (the way a Stage Manager would) that everyone is ready and where they are supposed to be for everything they do. Adults put together Power Points (thanks Mireille) that we use to sing in worship. Adults help plan and set up the picnic (thanks Chris and Tim) and adults help us from all the things that might fall through the cracks (thanks Deb, Chris, Julia, Mireille, Erin and so many others). Others came forward to serve on the Grill ministry (thanks Tim, Rick Brian and others) and the Sunday Sundaes were well loved as ever (Thanks Annette).

As always, Children’s Sunday could just as well be called “Intergenerational Sunday,” because congregations remain some of the last places where people participate in the work we do together. Sports may bring adults to the sidelines (and some coach, but most do not) and the arts may involve adults as instructors to child students, but only in congregations do we say that the kids serve AS adults do. It’s a great feeling to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with children to present a new way for the congregation to meet God.

One liturgical area of consideration did arise, and that was Communion Service. At the Federated Church, Communion is administered by the Deacons; this feels good because we’ve only got two sacraments (or ordinances, as we say on the Baptist side of our church): Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. When we do one of these two things, having the Deacons participate reminds us how important they are. It also invokes the apostolic tradition, where we remember that the Deacons were “set aside” from “waiting tables” in order to attend to the spiritual needs of the new congregations (Acts 6:1-6). The two may seem to meld in the Communion Liturgy, but anyone who has tasted the scant bit of bread and juice, or wine, depending on your tradition, knows this: the amounts are symbolic, working toward a unifying sense of the presence of the Holy Spirit in those who partake.

So the Christian Education Team requested that the Deacons commission children to serve Communion, and the Deacons did so. This isn’t gate-keeping. Rather, this is a reminder of what’s important to us: our traditions. Our sacraments and our ordinances. Like the children of our church, they are part of the glue that holds us together, part of the hope that keeps us secure in times of adversity. They are part of who we are and of what we might become.

What a wonderful Sunday. What a great liturgy. What a satisfying (maybe too much so) picnic. As I sit each day to mark off five things I’m grateful for, today was easy: I am thankful for Children’s Sunday, and for all the generations of the church who made it not only possible, but wonderful.

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