~by Lynace Pabst Veit
Attending worship has always been a significant part of my life. With both parents in ministry there was rarely a Sunday that I missed church. We were the first to arrive in the morning, the last ones to leave, and there we sat every Sunday in the second pew from the front. I’ll be the first to admit that there were definitely Sundays that I would have rather slept in late or been anywhere else besides that pew. But as I grew older I realized that it was in that pew that I grew in my faith and decided to go into ministry myself, as a Director of Children’s Ministry. It was in that pew that I learned to follow along in the hymnal and sing the hymns of our faith. It was in that pew that I learned the Lord’s Prayer, received the Body and Blood of Christ, and wrote notes back and forth with my mom about the sermon. It was from that pew that I received my own Bible as a 3rd grader and stood to confirm my faith for myself during confirmation. It was in that pew that I learned that Gameboys are not acceptable to bring to church and neither is giggling loudly with your friends. It was in that pew that I learned of Christ’s sacrificial love for me, made baptismal promises of Christ’s love for others, and it is to that pew I return when I journey home.
When I became a parent there was never any doubt in my mind that I wanted my son to have the same experience in the pew that I did. I wanted him to learn and grow in his faith next to me in the pew and alongside the rest of his church family. I knew it wasn’t always going to be easy (my mom tells stories of my diaper leaking on my dad, the pastor, during a children’s sermon or me ripping out a page of the hymnal the first time we attended the church I grew up in) but I did know that it was important. It’s important for my son’s journey with Christ and important for our family.
So here my husband and I sit, every Sunday, now in a different pew surrounded by a new church family, with our wiggly, energetic 2.5 year old sandwiched between us. He may drop a hymnal every now and then, he may be the loudest one in front when I’m trying to give a children’s sermon, and we may still be working on how to whisper. But he is a baptized child of God and it is important that he is there with the rest of Christ’s body to worship and praise the Lord. It’s important that he hears the Gospel and Word proclaimed. It’s important that he is present for the Lord’s Supper and that he gets excited to hand in his offering. It is important that he learns about the love of our Savior Jesus Christ through worshiping God the Father.
My hope and prayer for my son is that by growing up in the pew he will be moved by the Holy Spirit to parent in the pew. Just as I was many years ago.