She bounced into church almost every Sunday for two years before she told me about her
dresses. We were gathering in a small room to the side of the sanctuary for the Palm Sunday parade. The room was full of parents and tots, youth and children, and the choir. Palms were waving and flapping in joyful chaos. When she arrived she excitedly took the branch offered to her, grabbed her hem as she twirled and exclaimed, “I wore green for Palm Sunday!”
Each and every Sunday this young girl engaged with the Bible stories, answered the wondering questions and made sure we never forgot to move the arrow around the circle of the church year. The burlap and felt calendar is perhaps her favorite part of the morning. Children often ask about the one red square. “Pentecost!” she would answer them. Through her wondering, her responses and her dresses I could tell that she was always paying attention. I’m pretty sure she had been coordinating her dresses with the church seasons long before she told me. The rhythm of the church year became her rhythm. From Advent to Christmas, Epiphany to Lent, Eastertide to Pentecost and into Ordinary time, she embraced the wonder and mystery of our faith.
Each child brings their unique gifts with them to church. There are those who make unique connections, those with deep questions, those who express themselves through art, those and who always make space for more friends in the circle. She brought the gift of expectation. The bounce in her step is just a hint of her confidence that she would encounter God that Sunday and throughout the year. She showed me how to look forward to the seasons of the church year with hopeful anticipation.
Pentecost was her final Sunday worshiping at our church before she moved to a new state. I awoke that morning wondering if she would remember. She did. Of course she did. She bounced into the sanctuary wearing a dress of fiery red, a perfect shade for Pentecost. During class we asked thee children if there was something in the room that they wanted to add to the story, something we had done throughout the Godly Play lessons of Eastertide. She chose to add the little red block from the church year calendar.
I am privileged to get to know so many inquisitive and vibrant children through faith formation. I will certainly miss the girl who matched her dresses with the season of church year.