Every once in a while, the children do wonderful things at Mass. Sometimes, of course, they do the sorts of things that make me want to tear my hair out, or–more likely–to alternate with my husband, so I can go without the children. But no. That’s not really the way forward, is it? So I remind and bribe and plead…and sometimes they are miraculously good, and amazing things happen.
Today it was Lucy’s turn to remind me of the truth. Not that she was especially well-behaved: she decided at one point that the reason everyone was standing was so that she could run noisily up and down the pew behind us… We (the four of us over the age of 8) had received communion and returned to our seats. Communion wasn’t over yet; people were still receiving. Lucy got a little wriggly and talkative, forgetting the ‘whispering voice’ we like to use at church. So I talked to her a bit (using my best whispering voice) about what was happening, trying to explain why she should be quiet just then. In the course of our conversation, I asked her what it was that the priest was giving to people. ‘Peace,’ she said. Of course: ‘He is our peace.’
Good thing I wasn’t there on my own. See what theological insight I would have missed?
Lovely story. Sounds like the peace you received “passeth understanding”!
Lucy scampering about reminds me that, when I attend a “Russian” Orthodox Church where there are no pews, the children often roam about at will, unless they get dangerously close to the royal door and the altar, in which case a frantic parent or someone else comes to the rescue.
The congregation doesn’t “pass the peace,” but it does “pass the babies,” especially if some young mother looks a little worn out and needs a break. As for the crawling and moving-about kids, they’re generally pretty quiet about it. Sometimes though one of the older members will pick one up and walk about, quietly letting them “kiss” the icons and telling them what the “picture’s” about. If that doesn’t work, Mom or Dad takes the child outside. Lots of comings and goings in Orthodox churches. Somehow it all works: that Slavic blend of formality and informality.
Indeed. I was grateful for just that feature of Orthodox liturgy when we attended the baptism of a friend’s baby a few years ago. (See http://volpeayres.blogspot.com/2011/01/different-sort-of-saturday.html. You might recognize some of the characters involved…)
Wonderful. Thoroughly enjoyed!