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Sunday is coming

The first thing I noticed when we moved here, officially considered “the South”, is that most people were believers. Being a Christian was no longer the minority, it was the default. This was very refreshing but like most things gave me the opportunity to make a fool of myself. One of my first cycle instructors played worship music during her sound track for class. I went up to her afterwards, “are you a Christian?? I LOVED your music today!”

*Patient smile* “Yes, I am.” She said it kindly but also in a way like “and I breathe oxygen too, just like you.”

The other thing I noticed is that people do church here, very well. Church is not just a Sunday thing, it’s all week. It’s the epicenter of most activities for couples and kids. Most stay for both services, the first is a Sunday school time, and the second service for the larger preaching. If you ask what people do on Sunday the answer is usually “taking my family to church.” My response was “well yes but what else are you doing?”

No. That’s what they’re doing. Church.

I mean this in the best way. It was lovely to see community built so strongly around Christ.

That sets the scene that holidays have become even more significant for us here. Now we’re at Easter. It’s amazing the level of holiness and sacredness our church has impressed on us. I didn’t realize how conditioned I had become to the righteousness of God until we attended the Good Friday service as a family. It was strongly emphasized to bring kids, to worship together as a family. But the service was not dumbed down for the sake of the children. It was deep and impactful. The pastors talked about the last sayings of Jesus on the cross, and what that means for us and eternity. My kids got it, it hit them in a way that surprised us all. We did communion as a church, the adults walked to the altar to receive the individualized cups and bread. Our kids were full of questions. I hadn’t realized they’d never seen communion. Hubs and I took turns going up to get our elements so the other could sit with the kids. J had listened to the pastor speak about the significance of the ceremony and wanted to walk up with me to get her own cup. I shushed her and told her we would talk about it later.

As soon as we got in the car they peppered us with questions.

“Why didn’t we get to go up?”

“Was that really Jesus’ body?”

“Did you just drink wine?”

“Why didn’t ALL the people go up?”

“But could you keep that little cup next time because it would be perfect for my dolls.” (<- yep, that one was J)

So we answered their questions as best we could: Not everyone has accepted Jesus as their Savior and communion is for those who have. We explained it was juice, talked about symbolism, related it to the Last Supper, a story they’re super familiar with thanks to the Jesus Story Book Bible which we’ve read to them since they were born. But I guess we had never bothered to explain the Last Supper in relation to communion. J was filled with righteous fury that we didn’t let her go up as she has indeed asked Jesus into her heart. I explained that I’d rather she be angry at me than she participate in something she didn’t fully understand. B, from the backseat, chimed in with “I ask Jesus into my heart every day so you should have let me do it too.” Which J retaliated with, “that’s not how it works you’re ruining it by doing it too often.”

“You can’t ruin Jesus and it doesn’t matter what you think it only matters what Jesus thinks and you’re a big bossy pants and stop talking!” was B’s retort. (Despite the hostility I felt his theology was sound.)

This turned into a yelling match while Hubs and I grimaced at each other and muttered “I’ll talk to the girls and you talk to the boy and this conversation needs to be a one-on-one thing.” Until suddenly L, from the middle seat used the full pitch of her toddler voice to declare “BUNNIES!!!!” as we turned up the driveway.

“Thank you, Jesus. Kids look! Bunnies!”

From the backseat I hear a grumbling “I call them rabbits.” That’s B, always with the last word. And a little extra salty after his eternity was called into question.

We ended up reading the whole Easter story before bed. B is a sensitive soul and tears up every time we talk about Jesus on the cross. J made some deep connections “you know how when Jesus died on Friday the whole earth went dark? And did you notice that yesterday it was sunny and hot but today it’s been cloudy, dark, and grey? It makes me sad, and now I’m thinking about Jesus being dead and that’s even sadder. This must be how they felt right then. If we lived back then, would Jesus be dead right now and we wouldn’t know that he’s going to rise again on Sunday?”

My biggest takeaway was not to shelter my kids from the hard things in the Bible. I shouldn’t water stuff down to try and make it more palatable for them. There’s a huge benefit to letting them hear it full blast.

“That must have been awful for them, Mom. They must have felt hopeless…..good thing we know Sunday’s coming.”

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