As a child, I remember the friendships and camaraderie found and felt at church functions. Fellowship can be a wonderful thing.
I wanted to provide that foundation for our boys growing up. So when we found ourselves relocated into a new community, again, and the boys were little we attended a small church in the middle of town. I prefer small churches; it's not so easy to get lost in the shuffle.
This wasn't your traditional church setting. The church was located in what appeared to be a converted old, two-story home on a four lane thoroughfare in the center of town. The floors were creaky and the little spaces that were designated for youth Sunday school were cramped and musty. After service, the kids played in the parking lot between the cars while the adults shared discussions over their cups of coffee. . Translation: It's a small enough church that everybody knows everybody...and their business.
I must admit that the pastor spoke far above my understanding the majority of the time, but the people, and the fellowship were good, and that's what kept us coming back week after week. We developed life-long friendships while attending this little church. Individuals who are now part of our "family" (whether they like it or not) and will always remain family despite the long distance of time and space that weaves it's way into our everyday rat race lives.
Now, if the church doors were open for one event or another, we were always there, without fail !!! One particular summer, a back yard baptism/potluck service had been planned. The men put things into action to strategically set up the tables, chairs, and the Pastor's pulpit under the trees throughout the backyard. The women set up the food and potluck supplies the instant a table was made available. The kids were all running a muck; knocking down the chairs while playing tag in the yard; they only received minor chastising while the men set the chairs back in place.
We all worked as a productive, cohesive group.We were a family, of sorts. I miss those days.
Anyways, once the set-up/potluck details had been completed, the Pastor took his place at the pulpit; a sign for the parents to gather up their children, take a seat, and listen up to some "seriousness" before the baptism in the pool and the potluck. Everyone promptly found seats and, as usual, it was taking me some time to gather up all my little angels ( I use this term loosely ). So, needless to say, we were near the back of the pack by the time we settled in.
Any of you who have ever had to sit through anything church-related with a handful of toddlers know that it's more than just a minor challenge. It's a full-on wrangling event !!! But, with the boys placed between Jim and I, we got settled and sent the Pastor a visual acknowledgment that we were ready for him to begin...ahem, I mean continue.
He welcomed us, graced us with some scripture regarding the importance of baptism and fellowship. It was a very somber, and LOOOONG 10 to 15 minutes. But, I was pretty impressed at how all my little ones had settled down and were behaving themselves. As we neared the end of the little mini-sermon, the Pastor had asked us all to bow our heads, not only for a moment of prayer, but for some personal reflection to give us that last minute opportunity to participate in the baptism ritual (even if one hadn't brought the appropriate attire).
Well, we weren't but 45 seconds into the deafening silence of personal reflection when one of my boys just couldn't contain himself anymore as apparently someone sitting in our immediate vicinity couldn't contain themselves anymore and let out a SBD. For those of you unfamiliar with the acronym, a SBD is a Silent But Deadly... a fart with deadly sensory consequences.
One of the church Elders in front of us was apparently REALLY MOVED by his personal reflection, and perhaps by the prunes he had for breakfast.
..and in the midst of that spiritual moment, my 4-year-old son Joshua, spoke up, rather loudly I might add !
"OK, WHO FARTED ???"
It's one of those moments where you freeze in terror. You don't move, but your eyes flash open in disbelief when you realize that those words flew uninhibited from the mouth of YOUR child !!!
I remember quickly placing my hand on Joshua's leg and squeezing it just enough to silence him into submission while I looked around at those surrounding us. I fully expected to find a sea of glaring eyeballs staring me down in shame. But, instead I saw every head still bowed in prayer...
but every set of shoulders were were quaking in uncontrollable, muffled laughter !!!
Well, you can ALWAYS count on the Thomson family for livening things up one way or another !!!
As a Pastor, where do you go from here? I mean, you've totally lost the reverence of the moment...no more souls shall be saved today. He merely shot me "that look" that I had seen many times prior to that moment, and will see many times more in the future, and said "Can I get an AMEN?"
AMEN ....let's eat !!!
I don't remember if Joshua was baptized or not that day...I'm pretty sure he wasn't or he'd have asked the Pastor, "HEY, WHO PEE'D IN THE POOL" ???