My friend Charley was back at church today. She’d been away for a month or so with her mom, visiting family up north. She was feeling really shy, though, and wouldn’t leave her grandmother’s lap. Understandable, given that when you’re not even 2, a month is a big chunk of your life!
After giving everyone the silent treatment while the choir warmed up, Charley and her grandparents found their spot in the front pew. She sat quietly through the announcements and played shy during the passing of the peace. then listened intently to the organ prelude.
I stood up to invite the congregation to join me in the call to worship, but before I could speak, a sweet voice called out “Yay!”
Yay, indeed, Charley. Yay for music, yay for being together.
We read responsively, we sang our opening hymn, we said Alleluia Amen following the assurance of pardon… Yay! Yay! Yay!
By the time we got to the prayer of illumination, Charley’s response to my Amen had become a call, as well.
Yay! followed by a round of quiet chuckles and nods.
I had missed my friend Charley. I like a good game of peek-a-boo. I love a batch of toddler giggles. But more than anything, I missed the sounds of a child learning the rhythms of listening and speaking, singing and praying, standing and sitting. The wiggly sounds of honest restlessness. The sounds of patient teaching and correcting and connecting of generations.
To that, all God’s children say “Yay!”