By Cindy Koch –
Screaming, scolding, sobbing, shushing… Sunday morning church can be an emotional event for both parent and child. Just last Sunday I held a tired darling little baby girl in the Cry Room, sobbing through the scheduled silence of church. I was transported back to a few years earlier rocking my very own bawling baby, hearing only his angry cry (and not the prayers).
Up until very recently, there was only a handful of times when I was on the other side of that glass, sitting in the nice and neat adult seats. But as I swayed back and forth in that little room last Sunday, years of memories flooded from the cry room or mother’s room or training chapel or even the narthex of our past. Roughly counting, I have spent 12 years in the little (not so) sound-proof room in the back of the church!
Soon, the exhausted mother ran to the rescue of the sad sounds. I watched her tired eyes glance at the rest of the congregation behind that Cry Room glass. I recognized those silent words that also haunted me for all those years, “I want to be with THEM. I want to sit quietly and listen, just like the rest of the church.” I remembered the sting of tears just behind my eyes, welling deeper with every passing minute in that little room.
So is that all it is? Just a little room where the bad kids sit until they can be a respectable part of the body of Christ? Reflecting on my own life in faith for the last 16 years with these tiny (now teenage) Christians, it has been so much more. It is where Karra learned how to hold a hymnal, right side up. Julianna memorized the words of the Lord’s Prayer and when to fold her hands. Rose could hear herself sing and is now obsessed with church hymn tunes. Naomi discovered she couldn’t see what was going on up front, and quickly adapted to life in the pew. Titus learned the rhythm of our worship, and how to count the songs left to the end of service. Each of my children had always been a part of worship in these separate little places, as was I.
Here they hear. Hymns, prayers, sermons, confession, forgiveness. The children in the Cry Room are drinking in the life of their Faith. As frustrating and painful as church is for parent and child, it is worth it. God delivers his Words even to the ones who are too young to speak them back. Tears will subside, and the live version of church is close in the future.
Like it was yesterday, I recall one Sunday when tears fell silently down my cheeks for the whole hour of worship as I rocked my upset 18-month old son in that very Cry Room. Finally, the pacifier comfort kicked in, and both mama and baby began to calm down. Pastor looked right at us and appropriately concluded, “The Lord look upon you with favor and grant you peace.” Sure enough, his head on my shoulder, his eyes puffy from tears, my little Titus affirmed, “Amen!”