This may sound silly to some, but for others you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
We’ve been attending “our church” for more than a year now – dipping our toes into church life with worship team (me) and drama team (Peter), getting to know some delightful, God-loving people, learning the traditions of “our church”.
Last Sunday, the third Sunday of Advent, is the traditional children’s music Sunday. The Sunday School children sing with the choir, play the handbells, and present gifts of music to the church. At the start of the service there were a number of children who performed various pieces – piano duets, string trio, violin solo, etc. I haven’t felt that “at home” at church in a long time. Something about seeing a steady stream of kids, some willingly and others under some duress, standing up in front of the church to play their instruments made me and Peter look at each other and smile a knowing smile…
It also created a moment of panic when I realized that none of my children can really play the piano. My daughter had a year or two of lessons, but she quit and picked up the flute at school. Corban just started the coronet (it really does sound like “Jingle Bells” when he plays), and I taught Elias “Mary Had a Little Lamb” because I felt guilty. Not only are my children amazingly average, they have not yet mastered any musical instruments. Something feels so very wrong.
Seriously, though, it was a light-hearted moment for me and Peter, as we have been talking a bit about church, community and culture. Peter asked me if I missed being at a Korean-American or Asian-American church. I answered honestly – yes and no. Being at a majority-culture church we’ve had to ask and wonder new questions that at the surface seem rather stupid or silly, but can add a layer of anxiety and uncertainty that is rather complex and confusing.
“Is this house a shoes on or a shoes off house?”
“When I’m asked to bring food that represents my culture, but not too much of it so I won’t be offended when people don’t like it, how should I respond?”
“What are my kids gaining from being in a majority culture church and what are they losing by not experiencing the AA or KA church subculture?”
And then there is the nagging question…should I force piano lessons on all of them for a few years? 😉
This Sunday, the final Sunday of Advent, our family got to light the fourth candle. It was a wonderful worship experience to practice and then read together the following reading:
We light this candle as a sign of the coming light of Christ. Advent is a season of hope. The first word of hope was restoration. The second word was peace, and the third was joy. The fourth word is love. ‘I will sing of the Lord’s great love forever. He will be great and will be called the son of the Most High. The LORD God will give Him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; His kingdom will never end.
As our kids read and Peter lit the fourth candle I felt very much at home, worshipping with our church.
I am glad to know that piano guilt knows no cultural boundaries! Thankfully, I realized one child could and one could NOT–not in his mix of gifts. So, I started to lower the guilt-o-meter. One took up a different sort of percussion instrument on his own.
I have a friend who told me about the children’s music there…sounded so nice.
Merry Christmas to you and your family.