Rev. Dr. Valerie Miller-Coleman's monthly column.
Growing up as an only child with two busy professionals for parents, it just seemed normal to me that we'd go to the office on Saturday mornings. The only real question was which office. I never really thought much about how my normal Saturday mornings in the office might differ from my friends'. Sports weren't my thing, so I didn't know much about the whole world of soccer and softball tournaments. We just went to work. It was quiet on Saturday. You could get stuff done.
My dad's office had a better break room – one with vending machines and a spooky back door leading into the machine shop where welders and pipefitters built the mechanical elements my dad designed. I remember the smell of metal and oil and smoke lingering in the air. I watched VHS movies in the wood-paneled board room under the gaze of portraits of construction executives of yore.
My mom's office was in a high-rise building connected to the busy downtown retail and restaurant network. I could usually talk my way into eggrolls and fried rice on those days. Occasionally I made a thrilling score at Laura Ashley. Almost always, we ran into some of my mom's professional acquaintances - judges, business people, linguists, educators – it seemed like she knew everyone downtown. Maybe she did.
There were delights found in both places, but I remember how much I loved being with my parents doing something that felt important. There were deadlines to meet, accounts to chase, proposals to polish. We were doing things that mattered! I got to be part of it, and that felt big to me.
On Sunday, October 31, we celebrated our Third and Fourth Grade families' hard work learning about the Bible this fall. Each student received a Bible, and together the entire class recited the twenty-third psalm from the chancel steps. They led us in worship, and that also felt big. They did something really important together, and we honored them for that with sheet cake (what else?) after worship.
What might not have been apparent on Sunday is what I saw on Wednesday nights. Parents came with their Third and Fourth Graders to class each week. This was not a drop-off exercise. Instead, our students and their parents learned the story of scripture together. Picture that: a classroom filled with parents and early readers learning together what it means to be heirs to the tradition of holy scripture. Can you imagine how important those kids felt? They were doing something that really mattered!
We teach our children something similar each Sunday in worship. We show them what the life of faith looks like on a weekend morning. They could be doing something else, but this is important. Joining in worship at church is time set aside for something that really matters. As our children lead us in worship through children's choirs, youth bell ensembles, the upcoming Children's Pageant, and more, I invite you to put yourself in their shoes. Imagine how it feels to be listened to and appreciated for doing your part in something this important. It's a big deal.
I'm grateful to the teachers, choir directors, other parents, side-grandmas and grandpas, aunties, and uncles who help us raise our children here at Plymouth Church. I'm thrilled to introduce you to someone (very soon, I promise!) who will step into the new role of Director of Child and Family Ministries, leading us as we teach our children what it means to be part of something as important as God's family. Stay tuned. See you in church!