It was perfectly normal that by the time everyone got into the car, we were all grumpy, grousing, and in need of new salvation.
I kid, I know once saved, always saved. But do you know what I mean?
All my boys are older now and responsible for their own maintenance and upkeep for the most part. I left the business of wiping noses and bottoms many, many years ago. They do their own ironing. If they are wearing dirty pants, it is their own responsibility. And sometimes they get to church wearing tennis shoes because the church ones could not be found. I decided years ago that the battle of fashion was not the hill to die upon. As long as the "unpresentable" parts are covered, match or not, we will, however, be ON TIME.
The boys even make breakfast for the family as part of the Sunday morning carousel. I am all for that part of a Sabbath rest!
Sundays are hard in that as I'm getting ready in the morning I know that it will be a day of weeping. Weeping as the gospel is presented. Weeping as the hymns and songs are sung. Weeping as the words of God's grace preached to my soul reach deep into my own understanding while at the same time reminding me that as of yet, a son whom I love, does not hear nor see nor love its beauty for himself.
We sit on the back row of the church not because of my weeping, although that has become its own gift of sorts to not cause overmuch distraction. We sit on the back row because of all the wide shoulders of growing boys that do not fit on the shorter pews. It is important to us to sit as a family. And by all rights, we are a family by name, mailing address, and tax returns. But we are not a family in that one as of yet, a son whom I love, only participates in the liturgy of faith as an external rite.
So I weep. The affirmation of faith, the corporate confession, the words of encouragement, the pastoral prayer, all pieces and parts of what gives my own soul rest and strength for the week also brings pain. And pain brings prayer. Prayer for these words to not bounce off of a heart but to penetrate it. Prayer for the preaching seeds to sink deep roots into soil prepared by the Holy Spirit and not be choked out by life thorns or eaten by birds. Prayer that the most musical of sons will hear with his heart the hymns of faith.
In the denomination I grew up in, my prayer life didn't happen until the altar call when I fervently called out for someone, anyone, to please go speak to the pastor so that we could get to the restaurant on time. Now, my prayer life begins the moment I walk through the door.
I believe in the efficacy of the preached word. I believe in the privilege of corporate worship. I believe no matter what hell's minions might bring to bear on the details of getting out the door on a Sunday morning that every grace moment given with this son whom I love is potentially the grace moment of faith.
"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD, my God, I will praise you forever."