Volume 15, Issue 6: Recipio
"Glory be to God on high and on earth peace good will toward men." I raise my eyebrows a bit at my son. He
knows the signal means to sing loud and he obliges, a bit wide of the note, but good and loud. I can't help him with the
notes, that's his mother's job. My genetic material already messed things up enough as far as musical quality goes. So I
just encourage volume. The other two of my charges (my wife takes the infant) don't know all of the words yet and are
just required to stand up and be sort of stillish. We practice standing still at home and I show them how I learned to stand
at attention at boot camp. But they all get so thrilled with their respective stillishness that they usually fall over. So I
catch them and stand them back up in two-and three-year-old impersonations of attention.
We all hit the "Amen." The younger ones hit it long after it has passed. Maybe somewhere in the midst of
the sermon. But we all hit the "Amen." We sit. We smile. We are all in fellowship with one another, no small
achievement when parking places are rare and seats near the door (for removing crying children) are even rarer.
Number three is not obeying her mother. A concerned look from my wife, and a kind of dim recollection of
the obligations of a covenant head, and I intervene and escort number three outside. "Excuse me. Sorry," I whisper to
the various bruised knees and squashed toes as I sidle out our aisle. Our car is a long walk from here, so we find an
unlocked car of a friend of mine. I think it's his car, but what we do, we will do quickly, just in case. When the deed is done,
the crying has stopped and the tears are dried, we head back in. "Excuse me, sorry about that."
I ease back into my seat, the job of the covenant head accomplished and ready to worship. But my wife's eyes let
me know that all is not well. Number one and Number two took my absence with Number three as their cue to step
high, wide, and handsome. I find myself not so piously pleased that we have now come to the reading of God's Word,
because that means we will all stand and the aisle will be easier to slide down. "Excuse me. Sorry. So sorry."
This time I reconsider my previous assumption about the car. This time, I'm pretty sure that's not my friend's
car. We find another. Discipline is given. Apologies are made and we are, as they say, back in the saddle again. "Excuse
me. Pardon me." We sit. I show them how to sit with my hands folded in my lap and an angelically sweet expression
pasted on my face. They aren't following my example. I give them the look. They fold their hands, but the angelically
sweet expression is significantly lacking. I scowl through my angelically sweet expression and grow annoyed as they refuse
to take the hint.
The sermon begins and Number four promptly starts to cry. My wife stands to take her out. I try to muster
a sympathetic glance as she leaves, since she hasn't been able to stay in for the sermon for months. But I don't
sympathize too much because I'm too preoccupied with giving the children a severe scowl for not putting on the angelically
They're obeying. But just barely. I lean over and start whispering little threats in everyone's ears. About
halfway through the sermon I realize that I sound like the mother of one of those demon children that you always run into
at Walmart. "If you don't stop. . . I'm going to. . ." comes the hiss. "Just do it lady," the whole store wants to shout.
And then somewhere in the midst of all the bedlam, all the whispering, scowls, giggling, and stern glances, comes
the remembrance of where we are, what we are doing and who I am doing it with. Here I sit with my children in the
throne room of God, worshipping the Creator of all that is. Rather than glory in the wonder of it all, I've found myself
growing peevish with the least of these. Rather than nurturing them in the admonition of the Lord, I've found myself boiling
them in mother Kirk's milk.
Repentance. Restitution. A bit of Sanctification. And we are off again. My wife is back now and our aisle is
once more a ruckus. This time it is anticipation of the Sacrament. Each of the children is quizzed in a whisper about the
bread, "what is that?" Number two goes into a long digression on the nature of Christ's deity. Number three is fixated on
her heart being all clean because of Jesus. I find myself sympathizing with number three.
The bread is passed out. The congregation is dead quiet when number two points to Uncle Gordon, who has
been commandeered to help distribute the elements. Her loud voice pierces the focus of everyone within earshot of us.
"Hey! That guy looks just like Gordon!" Gordon passes her the bread and pats her on the back while we explain that it
actually is Gordon.
Finally, we sing the Doxology and come to the Benediction. My son likes to fight for a view of the Benediction.
Greed for God's blessing is not such a bad thing. I'm right next to him straining for a view. Having received the blessing
and shouting our collective "Amen" at the top of our voices we exit Church, concluding a mini-version of human
history. Creation. Fall. Redemption. I leave Church a new creation and race my son to the monkey bars to see how far he can
go this week before dropping to the ground.