I stepped on a giraffe today.
Or maybe it was a rhinoceros. Animal crackers, especially ones you’ve stepped on in the church hallway, can be hard to identify. I’m pretty sure it was a giraffe, though.
Dropped animal crackers in the hallways are just one hallmark (pun intended) of serving in a church with a weekday preschool program.
Also, the assorted backdrop of childrens’ cries, squeals, and nursery noises reminds us that the next generation of the Church is on board or right around the corner. Sometimes, we church staffers close the double doors to minimize the volume from the nursery around the corner. Infants can generate some kind of noise, you know.
An active preschool assures that our church campus is loud, lively, and a bit messy at times. And yet, God’s providential hand and abiding presence are evident in all that loud, lively mess.
With the arrival of spring, our playground certainly is envlivened every day — trees are budding and blooming and our preschoolers are running, climbing, jumping, chasing, scampering over playsets, skinning knees, crying, yelling with joy. Loud and lively as a playground should be.
And just across the playground fence, the saints rest. This church, like others I have served, features a playground adjacent to a cemetary. Our children play tag with tombstones as a backdrop.
The loud and living growing up in view of memorial markers.
My church honors and embraces the legacy of creeds, confessions, and catechisms that the saints have passed on to us. Each time I pass by our lively playground and sedate cemetary, I am mindful of the first Heidelberg Catechism question, which our church family has revisited during the season of Lent:
Question 1. What is your only comfort, in life and in death?
Answer: That I belong — body and soul, in life and in death — not to myself but to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ…
Even if you do not spend your days around a preschool, life can be loud, lively, and messy. Whenever I ask one friend, “How are things going?” he cheerfully answers, “Organized chaos!” Such is life. So much we’d like to control, so little we do.
Thank God for our only comfort in every generation and age, the risen Jesus Christ, who is Lord of the living and the dead.