Thursday, April 13, 2017

Praying in Church

Lots of church this week. My son wants to attend every service and he's pretty close to getting his wish. Mostly he serves in the altar and can attend to the worship with both body and mind. I am not able to participate in the way I prefer; I spend most of my time in the narthex trying to keep the littlest ones from disturbing others who have come to pray. I've heard people argue against bringing little children to church at all. They say that there's no point because you aren't even able to be in church and pray anyway when there's so much in and out activity: shushing, persuading, cajoling and generally just doing one's best to keep boisterous babies from disrupting the service.

Obviously, I disagree. We don't come to church to pray. A slightly less shocking way to say that is to say that we don't come to church purely for the purpose of praying. We come to be part of the Body of Christ.

Yesterday I wasn't sure if I wanted to go to the Holy Unction service. I was tired and I knew my kids were tired. My eldest convinced me by reminding me that if we went last night and this morning for liturgy we would have the opportunity to partake of two sacraments in less than 24 hours. How could I say no to that?

When we arrived last night we hadn't been there for even 5 minutes before I had to take the little ones out. We spent most of the service outside. But we made it back in for the anointing and that was what mattered.

It is a good thing to pray in church; we ought to pray in church. But sometimes we can't. Sometimes it is enough just to be there in body, because what we do with our bodies matters. It matters so much that our God, instead of proclaiming from on high that He would conquer death and set us free, came down to earth in the flesh. He took on a body and He used that body to raze hell and trample on the devil.

I'm sure I have many more services that will be spent outside rather than in. I'm sure that when I am finally able to stay in the nave I will have to struggle with inattentiveness and distracting thoughts. But I will continue to go anyway. And I will continue to strive to put my mind where my mouth is and to pray with my whole self instead of only part. But I must begin by going and by doing and by participating in whatever way I can, no matter how limited.