“We must be intentional to guide, discuss, and celebrate the dependable rhythms of life.” Sally Clarkson (Pg. 87)
Her discussion of Sunday mornings being a time where we feel, “rushed, urgent, and -dare we admit it?- a slight bit annoyed.” really hit home for me. We have spent more Sunday mornings than I care to think about rushing everyone out the door, fussing because we couldn’t find shoes, someone’s hair wasn’t brushed, and we were going to be late. This sets a bad tone for our day and our time of worship. We have been working on doing things to intentionally plan and prepare to make Sunday smoother. We now meal plan for Sunday (and the rest of the week but for a long time I only planned Monday through Friday). I’m working on a creating a list of breakfasts that I can either prepare ahead or are simple to prepare on Sunday morning but can still feel like a feast. We also are trying to be more intentional about getting clothes ready, lessons printed, etc on Saturday evening to reduce Sunday morning stress.
“But I strongly believe that we need traditions like these because they give us necessary anchors in our lives — our days and weeks and months and years. Anchors are the moments when, no matter what, you stop, breathe, enjoy, rest, and check in with the Lord.” (pg. 90)
I want my children to love the Lord and to serve them all of their lives. While going to church is part of what we do as a family, I don’t want them to see it as a chore that must be checked off the list. I want them to go because they love worshiping the Lord and serving Him. I am thankful that unlike some of the congregations that she described in this chapter, our church is not a sober and sad place. It is a place of worship and joy. My son had a low grade fever a couple of weeks ago and had to stay home with my husband while I took the older children to church and taught the preschool class. I hated that he was sick but it also did my heart good to see that he was genuinely sad that he couldn’t go to church. He is only three and does not understand everything at church but he knows it is a place where he gets to sing, praise and learn about God.
“When we model to our children that pleasure, delight, laughter, and food are not God’s afterthoughts, but His generous gifts to us all, we do them a great favor. For the good of our souls and the souls of our children, we must learn to celebrate the glory of God.” (pg. 92)
While God is just and hates sin, he is also loving and kind. He wants us to enjoy his creation and have lives filled with joy and beauty. I want my children to see all of the gifts and blessing of the Lord. The flowers in the field and on the table, the yummy and nutritious food that He provides (we could be eating manna every day but instead he has given us a wonderful bounty), the warm home we live in, the sun rise each morning, and the sunset each evening are all blessings for a loving God.
Once when I was working with a children’s program in Mexico I was blessed to be able to be a part of getting them a donation or art supplies for the children to use. When the gifts were given to the children they were not told they were from other people, but that they were gifts from God. I loved the truth and beauty of that lesson. While it is true that people donated the money for those supplies, they donated it in the name of the Lord and they had been blessed by the Lord with those resources to give. The goal of those missionaries was for the children to understand that all good things come from the Lord. I pray that I also teach my children the same lesson. We need to be thankful to Him for everything.
Sally spends the next part of the chapter discussing their Sunday morning conversations. I love the concept of setting aside that time for learning and discussing what they were learning about the Lord. As I look at our own family and stage of life, I think that set aside time and conversation may work better at our Sunday lunch table. To some extent, we are already doing this in that we normally discuss what each person learned or took away from the church service that morning. Lunch is a more relaxed time for us and gives us more opportunity for discussion. She says, “I saw these Sunday morning conversations not just as a duty to be fulfilled, but as an important opportunity for my children”. When I approach things as a duty, I can begin to resent them or grow weary. However, by looking at it as an opportunity is is easier to be grateful for the chance and more excited about making it an anchor or routine in our lives.
She finished the chapter talking about how sometime we shy away from the difficult conversations that come as our children grow older. They often begin to question what they believe and what they are taught. However, instead of shying away from these conversations it is important that we prepare for them and engage in those conversations. Those conversations are one of the ways that our children will come to have a faith that is their own, it is through these struggles that they will grow and learn. Jesus spent time answering his disciples hard questions and preparing them for what was to come. It is our responsibility to do the same for our children.
“And I can say with thorough enthusiasm that each flipped pancake was worth it.” (pg. 97) I hope that when my children reach adulthood, I can look back and know that I spent the time necessary to help them to learn and grow in their relationship with the Lord, that I may know that those ‘mundane tasks’ were worth it and valuable in their lives and the Kingdom of God. I’d love to hear your thoughts on chapter six or your favorite Sunday morning breakfast ideas in the comments.
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