A congregation of three in a room of many more, tapping feet making circles and their own harmonies. They hummed and yipped and yayyed, and then one of them, mine I think, started repeating the leader’s words. It was as if he had just heard what the rest of us of had, or as if he just accepted that what we were doing and what the little congregation of three were doing were twin gestures.
I wondered if it was the children and not the adults who were in worship, who were at play in the Presence. I heard Kelly, the leader, her voice light with grace and heavy with gratitude, and when the adults did not quickly reply to her with a response, the children did, with Bryce brave to begin. Hallelujah is what he said.
I was struck when I heard the mumbling coming up from him because I knew the formation of those words from years into my past. I knew them as a boy of size and ever since. But it was my son saying them with the worship leader and not me. The boy who has trouble listening to his parents. The boy who has difficulty hearing instructions when he’s playing or when distracted from too much joy.
And then the three of them sang the old song that Christians have included in their weekly and daily lives of praise. In the corner were Eliot and Bryce and the daughter of Jason and Courtney Bilbrey whose name I don’t know. I was smiling, refraining myself from disrupting their joy, explaining to myself that they were the leaders, the ones with the Light spreading throughout the space.
They were the ones worth following. Kelly was with them. They were in front. I was halted from my own involvement while I watched them, eventually corrected by the silly, untimed, and melodious participation. They were creating the sounds of Sunday, and for a moment I believed that their play was the essence of the Christian Sabbath.