06/02/19             I enjoy sitting on the front porch, especially this when will spring arrive, whoops it’s summer time of year.  The progress of the crab apple coming into bloom fascinated a daily watch, even in the chills of clinging winter.  From bare branches to buds to greening leaves, and finally to bursts of pinkish-white glory.  And now all gone in the snow-like splash across the yard as breezes petal push the proliferation of color into open garage doors, across patios.  A soundless clamor as nature’s silence voices her choices for daily action.  I once mentioned conversations had with wood as I work on projects in “I’m a carpenter” moments.  The birch or maple often has other terms for me, its laughter clear as a too short piece lands in the “save” pile for that “I’ll need it sometime” promise.  Stripping and sanding old pieces or working with rough cut slabs brings the cedar smells or lumber yard scents so prevalent in younger times as dad sawed into my mornings.  Three-inch pine flooring from a kitchen built in the 1860’s holds stories of hard farm labor, the respite of coffee on the wood stove, or the scratches from leaned back chairs and the mid-morning “just a sip ‘er two” from the jug.  One dining room remodel brought to life a hidden flintlock and an octagon barrel 30/30 rifle – and tales ran rampant of the hunts and “that’s a keeper” shouts as meals and winter stores came home.                               

Church holds a lot of new “talk”.  Open narthex doors onto the freshly made outdoor seating area free the word of God into the back yard, to roll across the greenery and lift in the warm drafts.  Chirps and chitters join the piano or guitar, the drum or horn, the chorused congregation harmony adding vibrancy and connecting “out there” with “in here.”  But most precious for me comes the voice of little ones, the infants and toddlers becoming more frequent in the pews around me.  Cheerio or Rice Krispy cries, antsy seat shenanigans, and boldly posed “Mommy, why…?” just make me smile.   Mostly I love the little voices, you know the ones that coo in a head snugged into mom’s shoulder and the follow up, lean back long look from wide innocent eyes in staring contest that brings the giggles or louder laugh.  “I gotta potty…” and a parental red-faced frenzy out the side door.  Or just that “I can sing, too” broadcast that joins “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” or “Jesus Loves Me.”  And always the hand on each cheek smooch during the Lord’s Prayer….

We have kids coming to church.  Never an annoyance of a scowled glance at “noise disturbance.”  Never a “why did they sit in the middle?” or “how come up front?”  No.  This is truly good news.  Kids are coming to hear in a personal little sermon or in a recognized song that Jesus is part of their lives.  Infants are being baptized.  Six are confirmed.  One escapes to toddle towards the front as an anguished dad makes sheepish pursuit.  A trickle of laughs – there’s kids in church learning the word of God.  That voice lingers in the polished pews.  “But Jesus called the children to him and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these’” (Luke 18:16). May we all rejoice in listening for tomorrow. submitted by Dave Smith