Ryan, Annie and I are in the process of church-hunting. No small task in a city with over 700 churches. While visiting a new church today, Annie decided to come to the front with us during communion. She was not going to take the elements, though many of the other children were, and was prepared to simply stand alongside us. However, the Reverend bent over to offer her the bread before I could stop it from happening. Annie froze, eyes wide, not sure what to do. In that split second the Reverend bent down, looked her in the eyes, smiled the most beautiful, joyful smile and said, "It's ok. Don't worry. It's delicious!" With a secret wink the pastor handed her the bread and moved on to the next person in our communion circle. Annie's eyes sparkled with mystery and awe. She held on to the bread, then shoved it into my hand where it eventually ended up at the bottom of my purse. And the Reverend's words? Well, they ended up in the bottom of my heart.
I can't shake the beauty of what that pastor gave my daughter. Not judgement, fear, heaven, hell, theology of age or salvation or annoyance that she didn't know exactly what to do or how to respond. She wasn't ignored, looked down upon or simply overlooked. What she was given instead were welcoming words of faith from a pastor that understands the heart of Jesus for his children. Annie was invited to take partake in the body of Christ, and with a wink, was offered a seat at the table of fear-not and it's delicious.
And the whole thing has me thinking of the beauty of a pastor willing to bend low, look us in the eyes and with a wink say the life-giving words 'don't worry' and 'it's delicious'.
Too often we leave our houses of worship with more fear than we walked in with. Too often we leave without an invitation to taste and see that God is good- the body of Christ is good- the world around us (made in the very image of God) is good. Too often we walk out the doors of our houses of faith without the invitation to come to the table and remember that this faith thing- well, it's delicious. The words spoken over my daughter have found a space in my own soul because everything else around me seems to be screaming THERE IS NOTHING GOOD. Nothing delicious. No place to be without fear. No room for peace. But this simply is not true, it is only what the frenzy of media, politics, Facebook feeds- and sadly some churches- would have us believe. But the brokenness is not our totality. As long as God is God, there is good. There will always be reason to taste and see and know the goodness and faithfulness of God that is on display all around us. So I am grateful for the Pastors and Reverends in our houses of worship that remind us, with a wink, that we need not be consumed with fear, worry, hate and politics. I'm grateful that they speak the words to us "don't worry". Grateful that they remind us, "Hey- this bread of Christ offered to GIVE YOU LIFE? It IS delicious."
Maybe today you need to be reminded of this too.