Today I awoke excited for another Wednesday. Even though Wednesdays are long, I look forward to Wednesdays and Sundays more than other days. They are the days when the church building fills with people and is invigorated by the presence of the church family gathered for worship, prayer, Bible study, and music. At the beginning of the school year, the directors of our church’s weekday school asked me to lead chapel. Each week I join sixty preschoolers for a time of music and Bible story. Today, I began chapel like I always do–with a dance moment to a song called “Praise Party.” Dancing in chapel has caught on slowly with the preschoolers, but today they are clapping, twirling, and stomping all around the room. As the song ends, one older child asks me, “Chapel Girl, what God story are you going to tell us today?” It’s not the first time I have been called Chapel Girl. Some of the children remember my name, but some use the nickname instead.
At lunch time, I met a mom at a local Mexican restaurant. This lunch had no agenda. It was simply a chance to get to know a parent who has served as a volunteer in our church’s children’s ministry. This mom told me the story of how she and her husband met, how busy life is because her boys are both playing sports, and how her family’s schedule becomes even more hectic when her husband, a man who travels a lot for work, is away on business trips. Her face lit up when she told me that she believed there were several children in our church family who were ready to start having serious conversations about baptism and what it means to be a Christian.
When I returned to the office, I went and sat in the empty sanctuary for a few minutes of quiet time and stillness before the Wednesday afternoon rush. There is something truly sacred about sitting in a quiet sanctuary with the afternoon light pouring in through the large windows. I experience a similar feeling when my Wednesday prayer time finds me outdoors.
After visiting with several people at Wednesday night dinner, I headed to the children’s building to check in with the music and missions volunteers. One of the ladies told me her daughter (who is in PreK) had some questions about money. I figured the girl probably had questions about money because we had talked about stewardship and tithing in Sunday school a few days before. I was excited to find out what kinds of questions this extremely smart child might ask. The girl said to me: “When I asked Mommy what kind of money she gives to the church, she said she gives dollars. I wondered about that. Dollars are not very clean money. They are not as shiny as some of the coins in my piggy bank. How come mommy gives dollars to the church?” I asked if she remembered what’s important about giving to the church. She said, “We want to give God our best and have a good attitude about it.” I told her she was right. Her mommy and daddy have a good attitude about giving their money to the church. They are generous with their money, their time, and their talent.
In all of these moments, I experience God’s presence in my life and witness God’s activity in the lives of others. For children dancing joyfully and listening to Bible stories in anticipation of what amazing thing God will do next . . . for parents who invite me into their lives by sharing their stories, struggles, and joys . . . for a child whose questions about faith are met with an adult’s enthusiasm to share God’s love . . . for personal time with God that allows me to feel God’s affirmation in my call to this place, these people, and this ministry . . . for intentional conversations families are having about the meaning of stewardship . . . for all these things and many more, Thanks be to God!
Lindsey Richardson is interim minister to families with children at Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia.