Some highlights at our early service:
- hearing "Jesus Loves Me" sung a capella by the whole congregation. I was standing next to a retired pastor, and we both got a little choked up when we came to the third verse, about the promise of eternal life (his wife died just this fall).
- hearing children read the lessons, and hearing a child say the words of Jesus in the gospel: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. And you shall love your neighbor as yourself."
- singing Herb Brokering's song, "Earth and All Stars."
- those who shared "what I offer to children," especially the retired teacher instead told us what children offer to him, and the little girl who told about how she serves in church.
At the later service:
- hearing the gospel read by two children, one Asian and one Latino
- giving Bibles to the third graders
- having all of the children stand in the middle aisle of the sanctuary, having everyone raise their hands, and saying a prayer of blessing.
- All of the children gathered during the call to worship.
At both services the preacher spoke powerful words about systemic racism and how it affects our ability to care for all the children, to protect, guard and guide them. She spoke about repentance and relying on Jesus' power and promise to keep us working for a more just world, even though we continue to be imperfect followers.
Many people put sticky hearts on cardboard, "What I offer to children." I'm looking forward to reading them.
I pray that our congregation more and more can recognize and welcome all God's children, and see how beautiful they are.