As I have done in previous Lents I am sharing a daily reflection as part of my Lenten discipline. This year I am using the “Wilderness Wanderings” theme compiled by the “Lent Photo a Day” group. The word appointed for today is “Child.”

On the Grizzly River Run with Allison, my sister Tamara, and some new friends.
On the Grizzly River Run with Allison, my sister Tamara, and some new friends.

Last weekend I did something I don’t often do. I took some time for myself and enjoyed the gift of a few days at Disneyland. Allison and I hadn’t been to Disneyland since we were dating, and it was a great joy to be able to enjoy some time there while also presenting, learning, and networking at the Youth Ministry Extravaganza.

While there, we got to enjoy the Grizzly River Run ride at California Adventure a few times. If you haven’t been before, this is a river rafting ride, a round raft that spins around a bit through rapids and down a few falls. It’s a ride where you are promised to get a little wet, and some people certainly get soaked.

During one of our times riding this ride, we were joined by a mother and her four children. It was clear it was their first time on the ride. Their joy, glee, and wonder was palpable. Have you ever experienced something with a child when they experience it for the first time? It’s so authentic, real, and special. To see their faces light up as they got a little wet from the ride, to hear their laughter as we bounced around, and to see them smile bigger than one could smile after going down the final drop. The ride is fun enough as it is, but getting to enjoy it with that family for a few minutes, really made my trip to Disneyland that much sweeter.

It reminds me of a recent experience in worship. As a Christian and Lutheran, when getting to worship and join people of different ages, experiences, and perspectives in worship can be eye opening and give new meaning. Recently I was worshiping and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a child and presumably her mother at the altar rail. The mother was ready to return to her pew after some prayer and receiving communion. The child, however, was not ready. I heard later that the reason why was that the child was not done praying. That warmed my heart. Sometimes, it’s best to have the faith and outlook on life of a child, isn’t it? 

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