This morning was a pretty amazing time to be at Stetson Baptist Church. We had the privilege of seeing sixteen people follow Christ in Believers Baptism. It was a party in that place. People clapped and cheered. I had a huge lump in my throat in tears in my eyes. It was a very special time. It was also the first time Jonah got to experience a baptism. We talked to him about it ahead of time but he still didn't quite understand. He gasped when "daddy made that person fall under the water" the first time. Because our baptisms at Stetson are so celebratory, his questions and talking were drowned out by the noise (applause/cheers) of other people.
Then came the Lord's Supper. Let me say that again, then came the Lord's Supper. Nothing in my life has prepared me for the sheer exhaustion that came with sitting next to a four year old experiencing that for the first time. The poor guy was as confused as (let me use a Louisiana phrase here) a calf looking at a new gate. It mattered absolutely zero that Dan had explained it to him. It mattered none that we talked about it all the way to church that morning. All he knew was that he wanted to "eat some of that food in those pretty dishes on the table!"
There were certainly some redeemable moments of the day like when he went to the altar to pray with me before the bread and juice were served. He knelt on his own and prayed his own prayer as I did mine. Granted, his was out loud and typical (thank you God for mommy, daddy, max and baby micah, etc.) but he knelt, bowed his head, closed his eyes and sincerely talked to God. It was precious. Well, until he spotted Dan at the altar praying and wanted to "go over and see what daddy is saying to God!" He wasn't happy that I made him come back to our pew instead.
He was quite confused and loudly questioned why Dan was on the floor behind the table instead of on the stage. And then, when the men went forward to get the trays of bread to pass out, he was very mad that he couldn't see Dan any more. Oh, and before I forget, Lammy doesn't usually come out of his church bag until Dan starts preaching. He kept asking during the music if he could have Lammy. I kept telling him no. Then he loudly stated, "Well, Lammy loves Jesus too!" I let him get Lammy!
Because we were so close to the front, I received my bread rather quickly but had to hold it for a while in order for the other people to receive theirs. Jonah kept licking his lips and saying "YUMMY!" Then, as we were directed to eat it, as I began to chew, he said in his normal speaking voice, "How does it taste? Is it good?" Of course, the giggles all around told me other people obviously heard him too.
Then came the juice. Man oh man! How do you explain to a four year old who loves grape juice that he can't have any? We tried the spiritual approach ahead of time but the whole "we've asked Jesus into our hearts" thing just threw him for a total loop. All he could focus on was how Jesus fit in there. He didn't get the spiritual significance. No amount of preparing him for what was to come helped when he saw that grape juice.
"mmm...I sure love grape juice!"
"mommy, do you remember on a different yesterday when I told you grape juice was my favorite kind of juice?"
"that is a little cup of grape juice...you know, for little boys and girls, not grown-ups."
"if I had some grape juice, I'd give you some!"
I could go on...and on...and on! Then came the classic line that caused me to reach into my purse at a most somber moment and pull out a pen and paper to write down exactly what he said so I would not forget it later.
"Can I just put my tongue in it? I won't drink it, I'll just taste it?" I said "No, shhh!" Then in typical Jonah fashion, he said "Well, I've already got water in my mouth called spit and I'll just gather it all up and swallow at once and that will be my drink and you can't have any of it!" And, he did! It seems he found some great satisfaction in having something of his own that I couldn't have. And do you know what, it didn't bother me in the least!!!
Dan walked up soon after the service was over. I looked at him and said "This has been THE most stressful hour of my entire life!" He giggled as I recounted the many stories (lots of which aren't included in this post) from the morning. I'm still trying to recover all the while thankful that we aren't Catholic and do this every week!