…and I’m a friend of Jesus. I seem to have been singing this all week, at three assemblies and now this morning at the Toddler’s Praise service at St M’s. There is a hand jive we do at school to it, but the little pre-school lovelies just enjoy clapping. I tried to get the NADFAS heritage volunteers who were also in church at the same time to join in. (Must sort out monthly clash! or at least ask the ladies of a certain age to stop chatting just for 10 minutes) .
The toddler group meets weekly in the church room, a warm, modern and comfortable space that we fill with toys. There is always drinks and healthy food, a bible story, fun music playing, something crafty to do and plenty of space for mums and carers to chat. It is a good place to be and over time we have built up some good relationships with those that come. The mums gain a huge amount of support from each other. It’s what we are about isn’t it? Relationships.
In contrast St M’s church is dark and full of high box pews. If I were 2 I’d find it a terrifying place. Once a month, we walk across to church for a toddler service. The idea was that this would be a stepping stone to coming to church and they could get used to the building. We do have fun. Today we lit the candle to show that Jesus is our friend and he is with us. There is always excitement at the end over who is going to blow it out. One of the mums dressed up as Matthew and the children ‘grumpily’ put money in his box and we love singing and dancing!
BUT, sometimes I wonder at the wisdom of asking them into such an uninviting place and befriending them to get them to be like us. I don’t like the idea that this is a stepping stone to real church. For the mums, Wednesday mornings is church for them. I’m just not sure how to provide them some space so that as they meet with each other they can also meet with God.
God cares deeply about all the things they chat about. He also cares about the NADFAS ladies. I was amused this morning to hear two very different groups each chatting amongst themselves about things they cared about and thinking to myself that in their relationships and care of each other both were reflecting something of the way God is.
We all need friends. Glad Jesus is a friend of mine.