Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Divine Appointments

" ... Got a couple dents in my fender, got a couple rips in my jeans, try to keep the pieces together, but perfection is my enemy. On my own I'm so clumsy, but you your shoulders I can see ..." Man, every time I hear this song, my hand automatically reaches for the volume button - it's by Francesca Battistelli. So, I wanted to share!

On other notes, since I've neglected this blog for a couple of weeks now ... I wanted to share an experience that Dylan and I shared last week.

Our church hosted Team Impact last week and Dylan was thrilled. For those of you who don't know, Team Impact is an evangelistic group of super strong men who travel around, sharing their testimonies and doing feats of super-strength. For a six-year old boy, it doesn't get much better (well, maybe Monster Trucks?). Anyway, to say Dylan was thrilled is truly an understatement. And his excitement propelled him to want to share this very cool, thrilling thing with his friends. Our church had printed baseball card-sized cards that announced Team Impact on the front side and on the back side include the address and times for each show. So, I helped Dylan count out 22 cards - one for each child in his class - and gave him instructions on sharing them with his friends:
  1. Only give them out at recess - you can't interrupt class
  2. Give one to everyone - you don't want to hurt someone's feelings
  3. If one of your friends doesn't want one, you can't get angry about that
And so off to school he went, excited to invite his friends.

And then came the call that was totally unexpected: His teacher called to tell us that she had taken the cards up and told Dylan that if they came back they would go in the trash.

I had planned to go to the school for lunch, so I went and talked with his teacher who told me that by issuing written invitations to a church function we were infringing on the right to separation of church and state. Well, I am aware that a school cannot force students to pray or to attend events at churches, but I was (and still am) under the impression that children can invite friends to church or lead prayer or talk about God ... you get the idea. To shorten the story, I was upset about this turn of events. It was a moment where I really thought, "How can we be in the world and not of the world when this is the world?" His teacher posed this question to me: "How would you feel if Dylan came home with an invitation to worship from one of my wiccan or buddhist students?" And here's the answer I gave her: I'd feel just fine about that - I would appreciate it for what it is - a friend including a friend in something important to him/her. But just because we're invited doesn't mean we have to go.

All afternoon I fretted over this. I prayed. I worrid. I got angry. I prayed some more. And then I went to pick Dylan up from school, still frustrated and not sure how to talk to him about it. But my six year old sees better than I do sometimes and I think hears a little better, too. I expressed to him that I was sorry he wasn't able to invite his friends to Team Impact, but that I was glad (and, I admit, proud) that he wanted to invite his friends to church events. And he answered, with so much wisdom: It's o.k., Mama. My friends all got read their cards before she took them up. If they want to come, they're still invited."

I have to stop now and say that I'm not such a great listener. I believe that God answers prayers, but I often pray that He will answer me with slamming doors or anvils falling from the sky. But in this case I was reminded that God's answers are sometimes more subtle than what I think I need, just confirming that He is in control ... and truth spoken by a six-year old is still truth: Once invitations are issued, no one but the one giving the invitation can take it back. Divine appointments can't be cancelled.

Have a great Labor Day!