Love, Grace & Gratitude

by Mary Johnson, Director of Children's Ministries

Over the summer, the full-time staff of Holy Comforter has been preparing for this year. We invite you to come and be a part of this caring community on as many occasions as you are able.

There have been many arguments made about the need or even importance of being part of a Sunday morning worship experience. "With all the things I have to get done each week, Sunday is my day off." "Why do I need to go to church on Sunday to connect with God?" The push-back to parents as they try and rally the troops to get out the door on Sunday morning can be intense. Or so I've heard from parents of school- aged children.

I have to admit, that when I was growing up it wasn't a choice that I made. That is, my parents never presented it as a "choice" on Sunday mornings. We, as a family, went to church. I am so grateful to my parents for that foundation. Many of you have heard my encouragement that a faith foundation, whatever name or denomination you put to it ,is so critical in your child's development. To argue that an individual can make a choice as to whether or not to participate in any religion once they are grown is false logic in my opinion. Without any foundation, to choose a faith community as an adult is nearly impossible.

I liken it to telling a child that she doesn't need swimming lessons because she'll figure it out when she grows up. Try taking a 12 year-old that has never had to learn to swim out on a boat in Lake Michigan and throwing her overboard. "Go ahead and swim to shore.....you'll figure it out!" I don't think so.

So what's the big deal? No choice is made, life goes on. True. But if you'll permit me, this is why I come on Sunday mornings. It is not because I have to because it is my job - and I do love my job! I have found this community of Holy Comforter to be a loving, inclusive, compassionate amalgamation of men, women and children of all ages. The children are captivated by the Bible stories shared in Children's' Chapel and in the classroom lessons. The youth groups are invited to assess what it is they believe in while being sustained and nurtured by caring adults who believe in them. And there is no competition! Adults are encouraged to find ways to share the blessings they enjoy with the world around them throughout the week.

I think it is pretty safe to say that we all hope for happiness in our lives: for ourselves, our children, extended families, and friends. Pharrell Williams even has a hit song about it. So what does that have to do with going to church on Sunday mornings? Going back to the element of choice, the best argument presented by a parent to her child when the dispute started: "But why do I have to go to church?" The parent calmly replied, "It is my job as your parent, to feed your body, mind, and soul. I make sure that you eat nutritious food, that you go to a good school and do your homework, and that you come with me to church on Sunday to 'feed your soul.'" And where does the "happiness" come in? It is best described in this quote from Denis Waitley:

"Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude."

This is what I have found at Holy Comforter and I believe you will too.