When the kids first started to come to Sunday School, the sermon was almost more than they could sit through without disaster. This was, I think the most difficult sacrifice for me. I like to listen to the sermon. I like to take notes. I like to focus and internalize and I really don’t like to miss carefully crafted points. A bench full of wiggly children, while I was so happy to have them, was a big change from our quiet pew. To tell the truth, I guess I hadn’t thought about it carefully and I looked at this perpetual motion machine that was once our quiet bench and knew I had to do something.
So I hit upon the idea of “church boxes” which are small portfolio-like containers that I put quiet things in — crayons, silly putty, stickers, notepads, Bible coloring books, and sometimes tape or a glue stick. The boxes have evolved over the months — I used to put a church snack in there, but the rustling got to some of the other parishioners so I stopped that. And I took out the scissors at the request of our janitors. (Both of these were valid points. No angst on my part, for sure.) One of the things the kids do is color pictures for Ms. MaryAnn, and they often write me notes. Muffy, the seven year old, especially likes to write me notes because she knows that I will usually respond. Yesterday in church, I got the following missive from her:
Dear ms. Mary ann
you look happy
today! You look
nice today You
are the best you
are a Sinful
prsion I have
a question for
You When are you
going to do my
hair. I love you
Ms. Mary ann
See you soon!
to: Ms. Maryann
I know that I’m a sinful person, and I know my own wicked tendencies, but I wondered what brought this on. She looked up at me with shining eyes, and I knew that she thought she had paid me a high compliment. I smiled into her big brown eyes and she snuggled close beside me. I took a piece of paper and quickly wrote a short answer to the hair issue, but avoided the sin question.
After church, I went to her Sunday School teacher with the note because I was almost certain there was something said in Sunday School that prompted this note. I knew that Ilva (www.xanga.com/gokum) hadn’t specifically called anyone “sinful” but I wondered what had been said.
After having a good chuckle together over it, Ilva turned thoughtful. “Well,” she said, “Our lesson was about God being the only one who doesn’t sin. We talked about the fact that everyone in the whole world sins, so that means we are all sinful . . . I wonder if that is what she has reference to.”
I’m sure that is where she got the bright idea to write it in her note. This morning, looking back, rereading her note, thinking again about being a “sinful prsion.” And honestly, part of me wants to rise up in protest.
But most of me knows that the only response of my heart (that is right) is to fall on my face before the one who paid the price for that sin, clothes me with His Righteousness, and washes this sinful heart as white as snow.
Sinful person? Yes!
But by the Grace of God, FORGIVEN.