I grew up in a wonderful Christian environment. My home church had some very fine Christian people – progressive, thoughtful, loving, wise. Some were my Sunday School teachers, others were friends of my parents, and then there were those whom I simply watched quietly- observing. Here are a few stand outs:
Mrs. Brown (children’s choir director) who let me sing in the choir a whole year before I was officially old enough because, she said, I had such a nice voice and good ear for music. She had a beautiful smile and contagious laugh!
Mr. Waters, my junior high Sunday School teacher, who told me my aqua blue mascara and matching eye shadow was lovely (it wasn’t!). And Mrs. McDonald (co-teacher) who told me she loved hearing my perspectives on Bible stories. Both laughed easily at our antics. They actually LIKED us!
Mrs. Knight, a youth parent, who took time from her family on a Saturday to meet me at the church to talk about an issue with which I needed some trusted guidance.
The Andersons who welcomed their son’s college roommate into their home and then brought him to church and happily introduced him as a visitor. He was African American. This was the late 60’s.
And the list goes on. They lived their faith in ways that shaped me.
Of course, I also observed other things going on in those sacred walls- observations that made me stop and think about the ways we live out our faith- or don’t:
Two friends of my parents had not spoken to each other for 6 years even though they were in the same Sunday School class.
Mr. Monset was suing Mr. Bender- they sang in the choir together.
The Administrative Board meeting was disrupted by yelling and angry threats.
The Snyders and the Hartfords left the church because the Anderson’s son came to church with his college roommate (see above)
The phone calls that came to my father because he chaired the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee! (Mostly petty)
Its been a long time since I was active in that community of faith, but I still remember the people that helped shape me, for better or worse, in my understanding of the Christian faith. It reminds me that how we live out our faith matters. If you are an adult, our children and youth are watching and learning what it means to live out our faith. If you are a youth, there are adults who watch you and are encouraged by your ethical choices and your willingness to serve. We all play a part in loving each other into being.
Who loved you into being?