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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Adventures of Acolytes by Tom Pappas

One of my favorite activities at the end of worship is to anticipate the adventures of acolytes. (book to follow) It’s impossible to predict what they will encounter/manufacture as they approach the candles during the last verse of the last hymn, transfer the flame to their candle-lighter, snuff the candle and then process out in front of the pastor.

These are elementary school students, coached by a parent. They are cute as can be in their white robes and clunky tennis shoes. Sometimes siblings serve in pairs and it's clear that for some brothers it makes a difference to finish far ahead of sister. Sometimes an over-eager acolyte will put out both candles and disappear from the chancel leaving the partner high and dry. Sometimes the wick will be pushed out too far and the candle-lighting device will sport a much too big flame. Sometimes the hymn is short and their duties can't possibly be completed before the singing stops. The benediction waits. 

Last Sunday I anticipated a new anecdote for my catalogue of misadventures when I noticed that one of the lectern candles was out for most of the service. What would these kids decide on the fly?  How would they work it out? To my delight they nailed it.

The girls both approached the lit candle, in turn they lit the wicks of their candle-lighter, then the second girl put out the candle and they turned and processed out the middle aisle. It put a smile on my face. Children solving what I hadn’t figured out.

In the afterglow of Thanksgiving I love having additional reasons for gratitude and hope. Forgive me for being weary of our culture of me-firstness.  I’m thankful for Jesus’ devotion to children. Could it be that he taught these girls a Kingdom lesson before adult "values" could interfere. 

God is God - of the big and little. Big and little people – big and little events. 

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