Sunday, May 18, 2008

a joyful noise

i am ridiculously exhausted for a sunday afternoon. it was children's sunday at my church today. i am involved in an 'under-ground' ministry at my church for the special needs children. we have a surprisingly large amount of special needs children and i am working with the christian ed teach to help meet their needs in the "general sunday school environment". we don't want the children singled out in any way, but we want to meet their needs the best we can. occasionally i feel like i need to write church-based ieps.

so, for a few children at church, i am always hyper-aware of their location. if they look like they'll melt down in church it's my role to swoop down, tempt them outside the sanctuary, so they can either be distracted with coloring or, if they must melt-down, they'll do so in an area where their parents and our other church members will still be able to hear the sermon.

with one little boy though, my role is to act like white on rice. which proves to be a challenge, as he enjoys sprinting away from adults and running circles around the church. last week i felt like we were reaching a break-through, as he was finally beginning to acknowledge my presence. he started passing me notes in church, which was a quiet activity during the sermon until he threw a note to me and hit me in the head with the crumpled ball of paper. all in the name of love, of course. at least he wasn't running.

today, at one point i heard a 10 year old boy comment as i ran by, "you picked the wrong day to wear heels, huh?" *sigh* but they were such cute heels. yet when a 10 year old is able to tell you your outfit isn't wise, it's time to re-think my philosophy that church is the one time a week i can dress up.

but today, being children's sunday, meant that it wasn't just my kids keeping us busy. i caught high school kids about to use the communion loaf of bread as a football, blocked the child-ushers from using the communion plates as either drums, hats, or drums on the head of their little brothers. the 3 kids passing out the church bulletins reminded me of election day at the polls. two boys stood across from each other, thrusting their hand-outs in people's faces, trying to get the passer-byers to take their bulletins, as opposed to the identical ones in the hands of their rival.

despite being exhausted, i am grateful to attend a church where the children are involved enough to be making joyful noises. i'm glad to worship in a community where they accepted the bulletins flying in their face, and were able to appreciate all of our differences as we carefully balance the collection plates. and of course, where if i wear tennis-shoes to church, no one would bat an eye.

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