• Could Kittens and Giraffe Costumes be Allowed in Church?

    From Your Pastors’ Desk

    It is Sunday morning. And like most Sunday mornings we are rushing around to get ready for Sunday worship. Our daughter, Isabet, is lying on the floor screaming. Why, you ask? Well, because we won’t let her wear her giraffe costume to church. The tantrum passes, as all do, and eventually we are able to coax her into her Sunday dress. Later that afternoon, after the hustle and urgency of Sunday morning passes, we began to wonder if we made the right choice. Are giraffe costumes really not allowed in church, if she is not breaking any commandments or hurting anyone?

    This reminds us of a time that 3 year old Lenyx asked us both, separately, if she could bring her pet kitten to church. Pastor Cheryl said no, and Pastor Bala said yes. While one side was thinking about keeping worship decent and orderly, the other thought about how this beautiful child of God wants to welcome in all God’s creation. So it makes us wonder what are we teaching our children, when we say no?

    Our culture tells us overtly and subconsciously, we have to fit-in. We need to act appropriately, dress correctly, and not be too emotional. And we believe, in many ways we transfer this to God. We think God is always watching and noticing the ways we are not lining up. So, we think, when we show up to God’s house on Sunday morning we have to be normal (whatever that means). Yet, the beautiful and scary truth is God already knows us inside and out. God created us. We are each fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139).

    God doesn’t need us to fit-in or be some kind of normal. God wants us to be us, the people we were created to be. God loves the joy and imagination Isabet finds in wearing a giraffe costume, and God is so proud of his daughter Lenyx in that she cares deeply for life that is tinier and more fragile than her. Isabet and Lenyx weren’t created to fit-in they were created to let their light shine. And the same goes for us my friends.

    So, we could have told Isabet, “Issy, God loves how much you enjoy playing and imagining, but this costume would be a little distracting to other people at church,” but that response, doesn’t sit well with us either. It says in a way God is loving and accepting, but church people are not. While it is true that we all fall short at some time or other of loving our neighbor, we would rather teach our daughter to expect the best from people. The way the children of our church know and experience God’s love is through us the community, so each of us have this grave and important task of boldly loving the children even when they get out of line with our expectations.

    Jesus said, “Let all the little children come to me.” (Matthew 19:14) With open hearts and open arms let us welcome all the little children into God’s house. And not just the literal little children, but the child within us all. The child that wants to sing loudly with joy, or the child that wants to scream with frustration and sadness. For God created us all with little quirks and eccentricities not so we can hide away in what the world expects but so we can joyfully shine in a world of darkness. God made you. God loves you. And God calls you to share the joy of the gospel in the unique way only you can. Let your light shine my friends, and don’t be surprised if you see a 3-foot giraffe in church on Sunday.

    In Christ,
    Pastor Cheryl & Pastor Bala Khyllep

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *