THE KITCHEN TABLE – Ministry of Sister Care
While sitting on the deck of a mountain cabin, I was enjoying the falling leaves float lazily to the ground. The serenity was soon interrupted with loud voices and the squealing of little girls. There were four of them coming up the dirt lane in the back of a pickup for a sleep-over to celebrate the 10th birthday of our granddaughter. I would be helping to host the group along with my daughter-in-law on this Saturday and Sunday event.
The girls moved in with great excitement. Weighed down with sleeping bags and luggage they hurried up the stairs to the loft. And with lots of giggles they arranged the mattresses to their liking for sleeping later. The afternoon allowed for exploring the woods, making boats to float in the stream, and taking rides on four-wheelers with more giggles and squealing. Later for dinner they ate hot dogs roasted over the fire.
As darkness enveloped the mountain, activities moved indoor and later the bedtime ritual began. Before they climbed the stairs to the loft, my daughter-in-law gave them an assignment. Since the next day was Sunday they were to plan a worship service before going to sleep. The assignment was received with great enthusiasm. “I’ll be the worship leader,” said one. “I’ll be the preacher,” said another and the chattering continued as they brainstormed ideas.
After breakfast, we gathered for the “service.” First, a CD of worship songs provided accompaniment for our worship time instead of a Praise Team. They paused and started the CD at the songs they had chosen and all knew the words, singing along with angelic voices. Next, a drama of the David and Goliath story was substituted for the sermon, since no one wanted to preach a sermon. Then, we all got involved in a quiz to review the story. It was indeed one of those holy moments.
As I reflected on the four 10 year-olds and how they mimicked their experience of a worship service, an overwhelming sense of gratitude came to me for all the Sunday School teachers these girls have had. The girls were from four different churches but of one thing I was fairly certain. Their teachers were women.
Women play a primary role in instructing our little ones because most teachers of early childhood classrooms are women. Mothers also play a special part in Christian nurture. It is the sisters of the congregation who make the Bible come alive during the early years, laying the foundation for spiritual development.
As adult women we can probably name the sisters in the church who provided Biblical instruction when we were ten. We may not remember any specific Bible story or application they attempted to teach us but we do remember the love we felt in their classroom. They exhibited the love of Christ to us and we felt loved by them as well.
In this thanksgiving season, may we pay tribute to the women in our congregations who prepare music and lessons for classrooms of children, week after week. Many of them feel called to this ministry and find personal and spiritual fulfillment in their faithfulness. May these dear sisters be blessed with energy and passion as they nurture the little ones in our midst.
Lorraine Eby, Coordinator for Sister Care