Pastor’s Corner: Wedding Edition

One of the things I’ve missed in our services this year is the presence of kids and all they bring to our worship experience and lives together as church.  We are very grateful to the Sunday School and its leaders who have been sharing what that group has been up to throughout the pandemic.  And in the spring when we had kids and their parents serve as readers and worship assistants for our online services it made the worship experience much more exciting and fun for me.  But I look forward to having kids as even more a part of our community soon.

When we invite kids into worship and our church community, we also invite in a certain level of chaos and disruption into a setting that many people want to keep organized and secure.  There are many interpretations of Jesus saying that we are to receive the kingdom of God as a child (Matthew 19:  13-14), and why Jesus shooed away his followers who tried to eliminate the disruption of children from their leaders lessons, rather than shoo away the children as expected.  (Mark 10:  13-16).  For me, I think it connects to the holy disruption and relational reordering of religion that Jesus is always interested in, as I preached on this last week about Jesus cleansing the Temple.

Inviting kids in, makes an uncontrolled impact and we need to be prepared for all that it brings if we are to follow in Jesus footsteps and welcome children back to our church.

Sarah and my wedding ceremony this past week was a great example of what happens when you invite kids into the middle of worship.  We knew we wanted my stepson Paul to participate in the service as much as he was comfortable with and so I asked him if he would like to bring us our rings during the ceremony.  When he did, this aspiring magician played a little trick on us by putting Sarah’s ring inside of mine when he delivered the box.  So I, of course, asked where the other ring was to which he shrugged his shoulders and skipped down the aisle.  

After finding Sarah’s ring inside of mine, a triumphant Paul returned to the front of the sanctuary, this time with our cat Pickles, who our wonderful hosts at Lake Park Lutheran had allowed to be present at the ceremony.  Paul, had a feeling that the cat didn’t want to enjoy the service from a cage, looking at the back of a pew, so he got him out and pulled him by his little cat leash down the aisle.  A scared creature was reassured when Paul put Pickles into his mother’s arms as we were exchanging rings. 

So when we invited Paul in, he invited a little bit of God’s creation in as well, in the form of the cat who has connected our family in love during the last six months, and also a lot of God’s love for surprises and spontaneity. 

Paul loved the service, as is evidenced by the jumping, clapping, and peace signs he showed after announcing us and at the end of the service he affirmed that it was “good wedding” as we were prayed over as a new family.  We had a lot of fun and it was more fun because of Paul.

We had chosen to not broadcast the ring exchange and vows online, but to share that intimate part of the service with the small group of people present in the sanctuary.  Perhaps doing that allowed Paul to shine a little brighter with the joy he was feeling.  It definitely allowed our new family’s love and joy to grow as well and be seen by those who tuned in after this episode, as we all were laughing about what had happened with Paul and the cat.

In a time when we have experienced a need for control, security and safety to battle the coronavirus, I hope we all can be invited back into the joy of holy disruptions to our world and plans, through the presence of kids and creatures in our lives together.

I also invite you all to see the awesome chalk art that the Sunday School kids drew for Sarah, Paul, Pickles and I on Saturday.  The kids are still marking our community with love, art, and holy disruption too!