This morning I visited a family who come to our "Prams and Pushchairs" toddler church...Unusually, they had ASKED for a service of Thanksgiving rather than Baptism for the younger children, and when I met their dad it all made sense. He was a really thoughtful guy, with no churchy pretensions whatsoever, who nonetheless said that he "respected church too much to make empty promises there".
Impressive, eh? Wish he could chat to some of the other families we encounter.We had a satisfying conversation, and I was just beginning to tear myself away from the delightful baby when her big brother asked me rather sheepishly if I could do a " sort of prayer thingy for if you're being adopted". It turned out that this is a second relationship for his mother, and that the father of the girls, is going to adopt J too....I was of course more than happy to agree to include prayers to reflect this in the service, and the grin that spread over J's face when he realised that not only could he be included in his sisters' special day, but that God might actually want to be involved in his new relationship, was worth almost anything and then a bit more. The family had already asked for the inevitable "Let the children come to me" reading, and it was good to be able to tell them that when Jesus placed his hands on the heads of those children he was proclaiming himself their father and protector...adopting them, in fact.
Hard to tell which of us was more thrilled, really.....And they call this sort of thing "work".
I left there with a beautiful drawing of a smiling flower in a pot and a pipecleaner heart to grace the study....and a longing for there to be more moments of revelation, when people grasp that God really does care about them, and the church manages not to put its foot in it and crush their faltering moves towards him.