Monday, January 21, 2008


by Ellen Hill


I heard a little voice last Sunday.

It belonged to one of our many new toddlers. It was strong, clear, and confident. A comment made about something she found interesting.

Some Sundays, I sit amazed at this influx of little bodies, with strong sturdy legs investigating new spaces. A small face pressed against the glass to experience its rainbow qualities. The tiny hands reverently touching St. Francis. I am sure they are experiencing St. Paul’s in an organic, hands-on way that I am quite envious of.

I remember this journey with my own children, trying to find a path between exploration and adoration. Three little bodies squirming, reading, talking, but still trying to understand what was happening around them. Eventually they did. They followed the service, participated on the altar, read lessons, and served on committees. They grew up in a community where it was safe to be yourself. A community nurturing their spiritual education and growth. A place where difficult questions could be asked, and questions that have no answers could be discussed.

So, at this time in the life of our parish, children are present. We welcome their voices. We look forward with excitement at this new explosion of life. Like spring it holds the promise of unknown beauty.

And sometimes, it takes us back to our own childhood. Sunday in the pew between my own father and mother. My father, young and strong; my mother, unable to stay awake through any sermon no matter how short or long. We were always in our Sunday best complete with hat and gloves. The best part was just the feeling of happiness as we sat shoulder to shoulder. Oh, and of course the trip to the donut shop on the way home.

With all the lessons of Sunday service, perhaps this is the most lasting legacy -- that we can carry these moments of happiness throughout our lives as both the child and the parent.

I remember the beauty of a small hand in mine, tiny and warm, so infinitely beautiful.

Some Sundays it rests in my hand again. Now it rests fingertip to fingertip, palm to palm, all grown up yet still so infinitely beautiful.

Ellen Hill is a longtime member of St. Paul's.

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