A beautiful sight in church this morning. Summer is here, so all age worship is the order of the month. Seats are turned around to face each other, children sit on a carpet up at the front, and there is an energy brought to the service. It's the energy brought by small people, wriggling and jumping and putting their whole hearts into the singing, putting those of us who prefer to sing quite loud with a dignified clap* to shame. It's the energy created by the people leading, knowing that rather than leading relatively docile sheep their morning's task is more akin to herding kangaroos, knowing that any minute one may break free. It's a restless enthusiasm mixed with a modicum of disapproval, hope and nervous anticipation of parents with children just out of reach, and roof raising, rattling good tunes with a reasonably large measure of God thrown in there too. Oh, and sweets or chocolates and quizzes handed out by the cannier ministers.
That's just setting the scene. Today was something special. Two sisters sat on the carpet together with the other children. One in a summer's sundress, a floaty twirly dress, with hair in bunches and bundles of energy. And the other, younger, smaller, slower, practicing her sitting skills and loving being with her bigger sister. The music started, and the sisters danced. Little sister moving to the rhythm of the beat, arms raised, head held high and loving it. And big sister twirling and hopping, jumping and spinning, grabbing her sister's hands and then taking off again to dance.
And the other children, mostly older, simply made way for these girls to dance their joy. A circle formed around them, giving both girls the room their dance commanded. Not joining in, not condemning or laughing at them, simy moving across and forming a circle around them, letting the two twist and spin and praise and celebrate. And then the music stopped, and we all sat down, and the little sister twisted around to plonk her baby-pudding self onto her big sister's lap, and everyone was ready for the next part of the service. Love, joy, and acceptance. Beautiful.
*I had here planned to put up Adrian Plass' Anglican Rap
(Let's kneel, let's stand, let's be terribly bland,
Let's sing quite loud with a dignified clap,
Let's process around the church in a victory lap,
From the Isle of Wight to the Watford Gap
Everybody's doing it, the Anglican Rap)
but I couldn't find it so you'll have to settle for the chorus and my apologies if I've got it wrong.
EDIT: for anyone not automatically hearing the chorus when they read the title of this, L sent me this link - now you can all share the earworm!