Editor’s note: Kendra Thompson is the pastor of children and family life. St. Paul people are invited to bring their Bibles for a blessing on Sunday, Oct. 21, at 9 and 11:15 a.m. worship.
On Sunday, I had the privilege of sitting up close to the chancel during the 9 o’clock worship service. This was because I was robed to help serve communion, sitting next to other liturgists and servants. There was also a baptism. As usual, there were other guests in worship for the special occasion, but that’s not who my eyes were on. Instead, I watched with delight as a young girl and an elder moved from one side of the sanctuary to the other, in order to get a closer look at the infant, hovering over the font, ready to receive the promises of God…and get a little wet. It was a sight to behold: the family making commitments, the infant squirming, and a fascinated girl and her accommodating mentor, moving closer to catch a glimpse of the gifts of God at work.
As I saw on Sunday, I was reminded of this universal truth: congregations are communities built to honor milestones. Even without designated programs, all churches do this. We acknowledge, sacramentally and publicly, that faith development and life stages matter – and often intertwine. But what we might overlook sometimes is the fact that a birth, a baptism, a new Bible or a youth confirming his faith – that these affect us all; even those of us gathered, seemingly unrelated, sitting in the pews.
Although we might overlook these realities at times in the life of the church, on October 21, we’re going to be extra intentional not to. That’s the day when we’re inviting all the St. Paul community, not just the third-graders, to bring their Bibles to church. During our Sunday morning learning time, third-graders are honored with a special milestone, a Bible gift, and an invitation to “explore the Bible.” We put a more advanced Bible in their hands and we teach them to use it. But it’s not just about them. During the 9 & 11:15 worship services, we are also asking adults to remember their own early Bibles – and bring them to church for a blessing.
As a minister, it is my hope that putting the Bible in the hands of an inquisitive young student is the beginning of an enlightening journey. But I don’t want to be the only champion of that ideal. So when you come to worship on Sunday, bring your Bible. Bring an heirloom Bible with an impressive family tree inside. Bring a Bible that’s falling apart because you’ve used it for so long. Bring a Bible that got you through a tough time, was your grandmother’s, was given to you as a child. Whatever your special Bible looks like, bring it to church. Bring it and receive a blessing – but also, become one; to the children who begin this journey of exploring God’s Word with us.