That afternoon he and his little sister were taking a bath together while I was in the kitchen doing the dishes. I was hearing some loud laughter and lots of splashing and so in fear that the water might be going everywhere I rushed in to calm things down but stopped in my tracks when I discovered that he was quite joyfully splashing water onto his little sister’s head saying the words, “Remember your baptism and be thankful.”
Two things struck me about that moment: the first was that I might have a little preacher on my hands. The second is that on a day when I thought he wasn’t paying attention to anything going on in worship, it turns out that he had in fact internalized one of the most sacred and ritualized movements of worship experience. This taught me an important lesson that our children soak up the stuff of worship. They hear it, and remember it, and embrace it whether we think they are properly paying attention or not.
This summer while children’s Sunday is on a break I know the temptation as parents will be to stay away because “the kids won’t get anything out of it.” Conversely you fear that you might not get anything out of it because you’ll be so busy managing the kids. I would argue to the contrary, that these few months in worship might just be some of the most important formative months of the year. I’m not discrediting Sunday School by any means because Sunday school teaches our kids the stories of our faith. Worship, helps them internalize the practice of our faith and process the integration of the practice with the stories of Sunday school.
I know that vacations are on the horizon. Our family will even miss a couple of Sundays. But I encourage you that on those Sunday mornings when nothing else is planned and you’re lying in bed thinking “Do we come to church or go to the beach?” just consider heading to the beach after lunch because our children, I believe, long for that worship experience far more than we think they do. And when you go the beach, who knows – maybe when they’re splashing around they’ll pause, just for a second and remember their baptisms, and be thankful.
Thanks for listening, Pastor Matt