My son taught me a lesson on worship this morning. He has a very difficult time attending church, so we have been trying to just make it through Sunday School. “Just make it through” says it all. It is hard for him to sit still that long. It is hard to concentrate on a lesson that is geared for “typical” learners. It is hard to connect with children that don’t understand why you are different. It is hard to connect with adults who expect you to speak and make eye contact when in reality both are hard to come by.
So, usually at some point, it becomes too much and we leave for home. My son ends up unhappy, and I end up feeling defeated and wonder why I bothered to spend the time getting him up and dressed, pack a bag for every possible problem that might arise, gear up a service dog, and head over to church in the first place. Truly I spend more time preparing for church than being in church.
This morning was no different, we made it through 10 minutes of Sunday School when it became too much and the meltdown began. But this time as we were about to leave, he heard music coming from the sanctuary and wanted to go in and investigate. Too exhausted to fight it, I obliged.
When we entered the sanctuary, he took the first seat nearest the door and sat down. There was no one else in there except for a handful of people from the praise team practicing the songs they would be singing during morning service. I looked over at my son and realized he was calm, quiet, and content. We sat there for a good 30 minutes just listening to the music.
As I sat there amazed at the change in his behavior I realized something. My son was worshipping God in his own way at that very moment and so was I. I could feel God’s presence at church for the first time in a very long time. Not that God hadn’t been there all along, but somehow, I had got myself so caught up in wanting my son to participate in church in the way every other child was that we were missing out on something. And here sat my son as a testimony that there is no right or wrong way to worship in the presence of God. Really what is church supposed to be about any way? It doesn’t matter how long you are there, what room you are in, what type of music is played, or who else is there. It is about you and God.
When the praise team was finished practicing and people were beginning to come into the sanctuary for the start of the actual service, my son wanted to go home, and so we left before church service ever began, but that was ok, we had already been to church and worshipped God, and that was enough.