Thursday, November 18, 2010
A PAT ON THE HEAD
I grew up at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Webster Groves, Missouri. This was during the early 1960's, the last gasp of Episcopal traditionalism. That meant that there were still, at least at my parish, rather stringent rules about who could take the Eucharist and when.
Consequently, little kids like me had to be ushered out at some point. This usually took place at the gradual hymn(for non-Anglicans, that's a hymn sung both before and after the Gospel reading) when an acolyte would lead us up to a lovely little chapel upstairs where we would have what was basically children's church.
If I remember correctly, this was loosely based on Morning Prayer(if you're an Episcopalian and you've never experienced one of those, ask you grandparents) and was usually conducted by a junior member of the clergy. But what brought this back to my mind where the vestments that that junior member of the clergy wore.
They wore exactly the same relatively restrained vestments(this was also well before the idea of making an Important Artistic StatementTM with one's chasuble had taken root) the clergy for the grown-ups wore.
When you're a kid, what is the one thing in life you most don't want to be? A kid. You want to get around town on a vehicle you don't have to pedal. You want to eat pizza whenever the mood strikes you. And you don't want to have to ask the big people for money.
More than anything else, you want to be taken seriously.
I didn't know exactly what was going on in kid's church back then(it took me years to figure it out) but I think that on some level, I knew that I was doing something important. So while I might not have fully realized it, I really think that I would have been insulted if the minister had ever come in wearing something as condescending as this.
Posted by Christopher Johnson at 3:32 PM