The congregation which I serve, being full of kind and considerate folk, have for the last couple years granted me the Sunday following Easter "off." I find that during the week after Holy Week I am rather tired both physically and mentally. Perhaps the good members noticed over the years and so they thought they would give me a break! We visited a neighbouring parish (40 minutes away where my brother just happens to be the pastor).
It was a blessing to sit in the pew and hear the Word this past Sunday. I sat with my family. My daughter, Naomi sat close beside me. I held her hand as we listened to the sermon. She hummed the hymns as I sang. My son commented that he thought the choir's piece was "nice." It was so beautiful to see my two older children - Noah (6) and Naomi (nearly 5) stand at the invocation and make the sign of the cross - as I watched them do so I recalled the days that I had the privilege to baptize them myself. It was so powerful to see their little lips confess the Christian Faith in the words of the Apostle's Creed and then pray the Lord's Prayer during the Service. As a pastor who is not often in the pew with my family it was wonderful. I know my wife has had her church going experience changed radically since we have had children. She has had to struggle with, 1, then two, and now three young children by herself in the pew over the years. Our youngest is still a bit of a handful (Abigail 2 1/2) - but our two oldest children have begun to sit through Divine Service and be largely well behaved. My wife has trained them well. It was a true blessing to see them and sit beside them in God's House yesterday morning.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!