We share the Jesus bread

Two days ago marked 5 years since I first started blogging here. This is my first post – and still one of my favorites! I hope you like it, too.

Jerusalem to Jericho

Less than a year ago, our friend Joan handed Brian half a loaf of communion bread after early worship.  When on the drive home from church the little one complained that she was hungry, I handed her a chunk of the bread, telling her that this was very special bread, and that we eat it together with other people, and when we eat it we are reminded of how much Jesus loves us.  After eating her bread, she held out her hand and said, “more Jesus bread, Mama!”  And that is how our family took to calling the consecrated loaf “Jesus bread.”

Leaving aside the debates on whether it is okay for young children to participate in the Lord’s Supper, I am going to take it for granted in this post that, as a United Methodist, I am on firm ground toting my not yet three year old up to…

View original post 490 more words

Undependable – a prayer of confession

In the Book of Common Prayer‘s daily lectionary, today’s psalter readings are taken from Psalm 78. The psalter readings repeat themselves about every 7 weeks, so the next time Psalm 78 will be read in morning and evening prayer will be on a Tuesday in early November.

This prayer of confession is inspired by Psalm 78: Part II, as found in the BCP psalter:

O Holy One of Israel, as you saved your children from Pharaoh, so also you saved me from slavery to sin and death. Forgive me, for I am as undependable as a warped bow. You aim me true, and yet I miss the mark, again and again. I am inconstant, turning from false idols to your constant love, and back again. I yearn for a heart that is faithful and true; reshape me, untwist me, that I may become your reliable servant. In the Name of your Son, Jesus, who with you and the Holy Spirit is worshiped and glorified, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Aspiration

Jesus Blesses the Children (detail of a photo by Walters Art Museum, posted here under Creative Commons license 2.0)

Jesus Blesses the Children (detail of a photo by Walters Art Museum, posted here under Creative Commons license 2.0)

Today, on Twitter, Whitney Simpson quoted St. Augustine: “You aspire to great things? Begin with little ones.”

Glancing through my feed, I thought to myself, “I have always believed that! I didn’t know Augustine had such a high view of children.” Because of my bias towards children, I had understood Augustine to mean that anyone who would do great things should spend time with children. Which is not, upon re-reading, the meaning of this quote at all, but if it is a misreading, at least it is a Biblical misreading! Jesus said that grown ups need to become more like children in order to enter the kingdom of God, and furthermore that if we lead little ones astray, it would have been better for us if we had been drowned in the sea.

The time I spend with children is time that I spend learning. From my daughter’s questions, I learn how the world is in the grip of sin, and from my answers to those questions I learn what I believe. When teaching a children’s knitting class last spring, I learned anew how different we all are: how different we are in what we understand and what we notice and whose opinion of us matters, and how that determines difference in how we learn and what motivates us. But I was also reminded that most of us are the same, too, in having someone that we desire to impress, in needing another’s patience when we are frustrated, and in delighting in mastering a new skill. From a Daisy troop, I finally started to get a handle on group dynamics by observing the shifts in group functioning when different combinations of girls showed up.

But the time I spend with children is also time that I spend shaping the persons that they will become – giving the knitting students a sense of competence, as well as a stress relieving life skill, for instance; or giving the Daisies another instance of an adult who is not their parents who cares about them, and who cares about how they treat one another…

Do I aspire to a kinder, more equitable world? Then I need to invest in the little ones.

When I was in college, I used to say that the most revolutionary thing a person could do was to raise a child with intention, and my daughter is certainly on the receiving end of a great deal of intentional parenting! My husband and I are shaping who she will become, not just from our direct influence, but also through choosing other people to be in her life (and through the mistakes we make, as well.) Who she is and how she interacts with the world is influenced (though not completely determined) by who we are and how we have raised her. What had not occurred to me when I was nineteen was how much she would shape us, too – how much all the children I have known were shaping me all along. I could spend many hours thinking and writing about it!

Right now, however, I might need to take St. Augustine at his intended word. I am aspiring to PhD work. I have been so long out of school, that I first need to take some new classes, so that I can get “fresher” recommendations. Which means that if I aspire to a PhD, I need to begin with the (relatively) little task of my 200 word essay for my application as a special student. There are no skipping the little steps on the way to our greater goals. So no matter how inspirational it may be at times, I had better log off Twitter and get to work – before my partner in revolution gets home from school.