Monday, October 03, 2005

The kids and communion

Three cute things, and then some philosophy:
This weekend was the cottonwood festival at the park near my house. I love to walk around and look at art. Leila and I went over on Saturday just after lunch so we could look at art. But she kept thinking we were going to play on the swings because I said we were going to the park. Once I explained that we were in the park, she was okay. We looked at neat pictures and talked about them and one artist let us draw on colored paper with her oil pastels so that we could get a sense of what she did. But once Leila figured out we weren't going to swing, she wanted to lie down and go to sleep. I had too much to do at home to waste sleeping time in the park, so we headed home where she took a nap. I tried to get work done, but didn't accomplish much.
THen some friends came so went over again, this time taking Ali in the stroller. On the way home, Leila wanted to ride in the stroller, so I carried Ali in my hip using the sling. Partway home he put his hand on the handle of the stroller as if he were pushing, too, and fell asleep that way.
We jumped in the car and raced to church. Leila always demands music in the car, and I'm usually listening to NPR. Keillor, as usual, had some music on his show, but when it ended, Leila demanded music. Then she said "Push a button, mommy." I guess she's figured out that's how music comes on. We made it to church, albeit late, at Angela's house. Last time we'd met there we had celebrated Paul's birthday, so midway through the service Leila sings out "happy birthday to Paul." We all laughed, which is the great thing about the church I go to.
Another little girl was taken out of church by her mom because she did something naughty, and Leila said "Judah naughty chair." Funny that she recognizes that. Later Leila was in the "naughty chair" and Judah kept coming up to her and she kept pushing her away, to which I'd say- don't push Judah. She told her "mommy angry." She wasn't saying "my chair" so maybe she gets the concept that she's not to talk to other people when in the chair? I don't know.

We had communion at church, and Paul talked about attending communion one time and being told that if you have something against another you are to take care of it before coming to the table. It seems like I heard that most of my life, so it was interesting when he said that was actually in reference to making an offering before God, and not communion at all. It made me think about how big a deal communion was and how I felt excluded from it for so long because of being taught that I had to be in right relation with God and with others before I could take communion. It meant that I either justified where I was at or had to refuse communion. That of course was a big deal because it meant admitting to everyone that you had unresolved sin in your life. (For years as a child I suffered every communion because I had told someone a very unimportant lie and I thought I had to confess to him in order to be right with God, but I also knew that the lie was really too stupid and silly to confess.) The episcopal/anglican tradition takes care of all that in the general confession that's said during the service. It wasn't until I heard Daryl _____ at my sister's church preach about the prodigal son and how he didn't have to clean himself up before his father accepted him that I finally changed my perspective on communion to it becoming a sign not that I was sinless, but that I desired communion with God. When I approached the rail and took communion I began to ingest the elements as though taking Christ so that I could transform to be more like him. It's ironic really that it took me so long to figure all this out for myself, because I had long said that people didn't have to clean themselves up and be perfect before coming to God. But I saw that as the first contact. Since I was already a child of God, I had to be perfect to come before Him/Her.
One time my friend's father refused to take communion if he took it, because he's gay. His father felt like he didn't want to be in communion with him and had announced to his brother in the car on they way to church that he wouldn't be taking communion. His brother left the service during communion because he hurt so much for his gay brother. I remember worrying about taking communion with my mother at times because of what I was afraid her perspective would be. Luckily my mother has never said or done anything like my friend's father has done- she's shown alot more grace. But in the end, communion is about being in communion not just with God but also with the others taking communion (and not just in that location and time). I don't want to be in communion with alot of those people taking communion, but the point is we are all trying to be in communion with God, and we have to accept that about the others, even if we as judges would decide differently.

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