Learnings from St. Mary’s Youngest Members

Weekly Reflection, Friday, August 13

By: Amelia McDaniel

One of the greatest joys of my job here at St. Mary’s is spending time with our youngest parishioners. This summer, in addition to holding Storytime for the younger set of kids, we offered a book study for kids in 3rd – 5th grade. Our assigned book was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.

L’Engle is widely known for her fiction and non-fiction writing about spirituality. A Wrinkle in Time is now a classic novel which tells the story of an epic battle for good and love. And this group of kids were ready to tackle it.

For several weeks we gathered to talk about the book. Each meeting left me more certain of the incredible ability of children to process and absorb what is difficult in this life. Topics that we grown-ups often want to shield them from are topics that they can and do process and understand. What our young members see and say has a depth and perspective that is impressive and humbling.

I learned that these kids in the book study are kind and resilient and thoughtful. I learned that they see and understand the relationship between what they know to be true about God, and the pain that they see out in the world. I discovered that they are deeply grateful for the many opportunities that they have. In the end, I walked away from my time with them hoping I could be more like them. That all of us could be more like them.

The other thing I learned from them is how much they value being a part of this community. They talked about missing getting to be together on Sunday mornings. “I’ve missed learning about the stories and the questions that are asked.” They miss cookies after the lesson is over and the playground. They miss seeing the friends they don’t go to school with. They miss you too. “I’m most excited to see people I haven’t seen in a long time, and not just kids, I’m excited to see everyone.”

Each time a child is baptized, we promise, along with their parents, that we will uphold their life in Christ. The time I spent with the book study this summer reminded me that this promise is not one sided. These children who we promise to love, love us too. What a blessing it is to worship alongside them.