Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Trystan Sings - The Value of Families Worshiping Together

Ryan Donell, Grace Student Ministry staff, reflects on a recent worship service with his six month old son.  What a great reminder of the value of families worshiping together and what can been learned at all ages through worshiping together.

I’m watching God shape my son through the community of Grace Church.

Every day it seems like I uncover some new fear or weakness in myself that I don’t want to pass on to my son. Then I think of the biological fact that he already has my DNA! So, it’s too late in some ways. He’s already got a mixture of his mother’s and my strengths- and weaknesses. I mean, is it really too much to ask for a perfect son?

One of the ugly things I’ve uncovered is the fact that I want my son to be more than a son. I want him to be a god! Not literally of course. I’ve just realized in me the desire for him to hold a position of glory, which no human being can substantiate. That’s where I’ve needed the story of Jesus to inform and reorient my emotions.

Trystan is fallen. He’s fallen because of me. And he will fall because of me. But when he does, God loves him through me, and I can be a resource of grace and emblem of God’s love to him. That’s how it has to work. And this is actually the best way for it to work.

Photo by Sabrina Fields
While I swim in the middle of those tensions, I’m reassured by something Jesus has put in place for us: the Church. Jesus has gathered a people to reign with him, like him, and for him over his creation (King and a Kingdom). Jesus has created a people for himself, a community through which we are being shaped.

I got a glimpse of that this past Sunday. Lydia and I had debated whether or not to bring Trystan into the service, but we are always looking for appropriate opportunities for Trystan to be molded by gathered worship.

We decided to bring him to the service. It was going to be a more casual atmosphere with lots of music. So, we took the risk of him sitting with us, even though we might have had to take him out. There was once or twice that he said something out loud between the songs, but 99.9% of the time he was cool. And the best part of all was when we were singing.

He watched wide-eyed and mouth open while everyone around him belted out gospel songs and lifted their hands to the Creator. Lydia and I took turns holding him as he leaned forward with his chest firmly planted in our hands his eyebrows as high as his little forehead could push them. Then, somewhere during the choruses of “Holy” he joined in. He focused his 6 month-old face and just started making a joyful noise! He smacked his mouth, and filled his lungs with baby-praise.

It was in that moment of spontaneous joy and awe that I realized: the church already molds his behavior. His young humanity is wobbling in the current of God’s people- a people being transformed. In that moment I was reminded of how essential it is for us to be in the midst of a body of followers bigger than just my family. And I take hope that someday, during a song, a prayer, a sermon, or an act of service, that he finds himself giving his breath in a “hallelujah” to the Lord from a heart of faith.

Ryan Donell, Grace Student Ministry

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it funny how we look at our children and expect them to be perfection? I did the same thing with my first daughter, and it took me some time to remind myself that she's only human—she's not a god or a superhuman! Your post really brought me back to those days. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this experience—I know a lot of fellow parents will relate.