Four Little Words
“What religion are we?” Just four little words. I had been raised in the Methodist church but what could I say to her? We’re “nothing”? So, when my daughter was six years old and she began asking questions about God and church, I decided it was important to find a Sunday School for her. I selected a local Methodist congregation and I began worshiping with my daughter, staying for coffee while my she attended Sunday School. The group was warm and welcoming and I was a captive audience.
The first Vacation Bible School of the season was at a Baptist church. It was always held the first week of the summer after regular school was over. I think they must have thought that the kids were still somewhat in “school mode” and not yet accustomed to long, unstructured summer days.
Anyway, parents of the Methodist kids assisted or attended class with their younger children. My daughter’s teachers were warm and loving and excited about God. They taught with a large felt board painted in soft water colors. As they moved the biblical characters around in their old and new testament worlds, they told the old, old stories with pleasant, lilting British accents. The kids didn’t move. I was mesmerized. How much had I missed or forgotten? I started reading and studying the bible. I attended prayer breakfasts and bible studies. I was reminded that knowing Jesus could change my life and I wanted my life changed. I developed a longing for the joy of knowing God’s power and presence.
On a warm summer evening, my friend who was also my daughter’s Sunday School teacher, explained that because of God’s grace, I didn’t have to earn His love and acceptance. I didn’t have to wait! Jesus had died for me. I just had to ask and He’d be there. I went home that night, got down on my knees and asked for God’s forgiveness. Not only for my own offenses but for every hurt I’d held onto for the previous 30 years of my life
I was a new person that night of course, but that’s never the end of a transformation. Every time we decide to take one path instead of another, we’re growing as Christians and as human beings. Things still go sideways; bumpy roads don’t necessarily become smooth - sometimes it seems as Christians, we’re challenged more than ever. But I have help now. I pray and I am prayed for. When I have to decide how I’m going to respond to a situation, I know what it means to be Christ-like. “WWJD?” is not a joke. They are four more little words that have brought peace and harmony to our family more times than I can count.