Sundays are a whole new routine for us here in late 2009. This past Sunday was our 2nd experience with this new event in our home. We’re still learning and developing the format…albeit, it’s all quite informal.
Jason and Kristin and Justin arrive around 10:30. Generally, they’ve been more ready than we have been. We’re working on that. We have coffee and tea ready and there’s nothing like some “Jesus Java” (to borrow a horrible phrase) to ‘caffeinate’ our fellowship and time of worship.
Justin is…well…I don’t know how to describe him. To overuse a word or to use a word that is overused, Justin is truly a hyper boy. No, he’s ultra-hyper. Maybe even super-ultra-hyper. Whatever redundant type of ‘hyper’ he is, man is he ever busy! He seems to delight in being sure that his arms, hands, mouth, and legs are in constant motion and that the floor never lacks for a gazillion pieces of puzzles, toys and anything else he can get his hands on. One moment the world is calm and at peace, the next moment, Cyclone Justin has entered the room. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a little person quite as active as he is…and I’ve seen a bunch of ’em.
I mention that about Justin b/c his disposition defines part of what we do and what we don’t do on our Sunday mornings with this family. He typically starts in the living room with us but since no one can focus or hear anything with him in the room, he doesn’t stay in the room long. Beth has decided to take him outside for as long as possible to play in the grass with Peanut (our dog) and/or a ball or something. She knows that Jason and Kristin really need to hear the lesson and it’s more important for them to be learning than for her to join us. I miss having her in the room with us for her presence and input, but with Justin in the room, no one would be learning anything (other than either patience or loss thereof!).
So with Justin taken care of, this past week we began with each of us offering a simple one item prayer of thanksgiving to God. I really want our times together to develop a “full-inclusion” of everyone in prayer. There’s no sense saying we’re believers and disciples of Jesus and then being an assembly of mutes when it comes to prayer in His name.
After our brief prayers, we moved into our lesson.
Each week the lesson starts with a kids devotional story book (that we’ve been going through with our kids and are simply continuing), and then transitions into a short Bible study relating to the topic of the devotional.
We concluded with our repertoire of one song (and growing! lol).
We’ve got no musicians here and though Jason told me months ago that he used to play the guitar pretty well, he doesn’t know any Christian hymns/songs. Thus, at this point I’m handling the music to at least sing some praise, thanks, and worship to God. I can play the chords and pluck the strings and nearly keep some semblance of rhythm. As long as it’s joyful, heart-felt, and heard, I think we’ve reached the pinnacle of what we’re going to accomplish with my musical input, and that’s all good.
So…the first week…we taught them an old hymn that we’d been learning as a family before home assignment: Trust and Obey. It’s an oldie but a goodie, right? I must say it is rather exciting to teach Jason and Kristin to sing this song and to discuss the lyrics and meaning of it.
Before last week, they’d never, ever heard it before. In fact, apparently, they’ve never hear ANY hymns before. I was trying to imagine what it would be like to hear and sing a hymn for the first time. I’m sure there was a moment like that in my past when I first heard and sang this very hymn.
I grew up in traditional churches from the time I was a baby, so I have no idea what hymn I first heard and probably from some old Baptist hymnal. No doubt I heard Trust and Obey many times in my childhood. I don’t remember what I thought 40 years ago when I heard a hymn sung for the first time. Since I was so young, I probably wasn’t thinking too much about the words but more about the catchy tune, the piano playing, my dad’s bellowing voice, or the piece of chewing gum wrapper someone left somewhere in the hymnal that had just fallen out onto the carpeted floor. I really don’t remember at all, but all those experiences are somewhere trapped in a forgotten closet of my mind.
So, it was fun to watch them try to digest the meaning of the lyrics and they were intent on doing so. A good reminder perhaps when it seems all too easy to let the words of songs, hymns and spiritual songs fall from our lips as they dribble effortlessly from our spongy minds after years and years of knowledge and experience in singing them.
And so after one more prayer our church service ended. We’re not doing “church” and we don’t “go to church.” We are the church, right?
I’ll share some more of our “church experiences” as we discover them in Sundays ahead. The whole experience for me takes me back to the book of Acts. This is all so new…new believers in Jesus…learning from the very start what that means…dealing with the new experiences of walking in the Spirit, battling and sometimes failing in battle against the old nature. Confession anew. Reading Scripture and singing hymns, songs and spiritual songs for the very first time.
I like new stuff, don’t you? And in Christ we’re new creations…new…NEW! Wow! May we all walk aNew in the Spirit today and experience the joy that comes from living a life of trust and obey.
Excuse me…I need to go choose and learn our second song now. Pray for rhythm.