“Worship the Lord with gladness…
Enter God’s gates with thanksgiving
and God’s courts with praise.” – Psalm 100:2a,4a
At 10:15 every Sunday morning, a streak of blond hair comes tearing down the aisle. My nephew. He is grinning wildly as he ascends to the lectern. He pulls the microphone down and stands on his tiptoes to pronounce, “Hi.” Then he hops down into his place in the third row.
At age six, he’s just become a regular churchgoer. I’m trying to ease the transition by teaching him all the things I found cool and mysterious about church as a kid. I’ve shown him the hidden doors into the choir loft, the heating tunnels that run beneath the floor, and of course, the microphones.
He, likewise, is reminding me of what it means to worship in gladness. He frequently comes out of his pew and takes an offering plate from me as I’m inviting the ushers forward. And I can’t finish the words of institution before he’s at the table, dying to tear into the bread.
He’s not shy about telling me when things get boring. He usually drops a hymnal on the stone floor during the sermon as a clue.
But just this week, my sister told me he was reading the children’s Bible the church got for him and remarking, “in this Bible they are saying that God was in a burning bush!” Which at 6 or 36 is pretty freaking cool.
I plan to talk to him about it this week, right after he sprints into the sanctuary, his heart full of thanks and praise, or at least an uncontrollable urge to do a mic check.
Keeper of mysterious doors and delicious bread, source of gratitude and gladness…hi.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.