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Worship With My Son


A constant refrain for ministry is “self-care”.  Ministers are notorious for not taking care of themselves physically (we are more overweight, have higher blood pressure, and other atrocities, relative to the general population), emotionally, or spiritually.  Thankfully, my wife does a wonderful job of making sure that I am spending the right amount of time with my family and away from work.  On those rare occasions (and, thankfully, they have been extremely rare) when someone has made reference to my attending to my family, even if they do it jokingly, my response has been that I had my family before I had my congregation.

Recently my daughter was sick and my wife stayed home from Sunday morning worship to take care of her.  Our son, who is six, didn’t want to miss worship or Sunday School.  So I took him to work with me.  That meant he followed me around while I collected my sermon notes and adult Sunday School work from the printer.  He followed me in and out  of the sanctuary while I checked the altar book, bulletins, water, and so on.  Eventually, I sent him into the sanctuary to sit in one of the mini pews we have behind the altar for the worship leaders. 

The mother of one of his Sunday School classmates came back to my office while I was finished putting on my alb and stole.  She wanted to let me know that my son could sit with her family during worship if I wanted.  I thought about it, but replied that I was looking forward to worshiping with my son.  I went in and did my usual 8:15 worship duties; I gave the announcements, relinquished the lectern for a lay person to lead an opening prayer, and moved to the middle of the sanctuary by the baptismal font to lead Confession & Forgiveness.

Once that was done, I processed with the Assisting Minister during the Opening Hymn.  When I looked up front, what did I see?  My son, standing, singing along with the hymn.  During the rest of the worship – except when leading – I sat next to my son.  We followed along together during the readings.  We sang together.  We prayed together.  At the end of the worship, we processed out together, pausing to bow at the altar together before turning and leaving the sanctuary.  Together.  Worship with my son.

It isn’t something ministers often get to do.  We sit up front while our spouse… our kids… our grandkids… sit out in the sanctuary.  When ministers attend worship on vacation, it isn’t because we are more holy than anyone else – it is often because we so want to worship with our families and don’t often get to do so! 

I was sorry my wife missed worship.  I was more sorry that my daughter was sick.  Yet I cannot help but relish and treasure the blessing of being able to worship with my son.  What you do with and for your family matters.  Worshiping God matters.  Those two things together have a lifelong indescribable impact.  Worship with your family.


One Comment leave one →
  1. 9March2012 07:29

    Amen! As a lay person, I have no way to understand the trade off you make when serving as worship leader unless you share it with me. Thank you for this perspective – and for sharing the wonderful blessing you experienced in worshiping with your son. What a powerful message.

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