Pastor Pondering: Are You a Child of God?

Published in the May 2016 issue of the First Church, Simsbury newsletter, The Cornerstone.

I often chuckle at humorous examples of punctuation mistakes that circulate on the internet. Here are a few of my favorites.

A magazine cover includes the headline:
“Rachel Ray finds inspiration in cooking her family and her dog.”
Surely this was meant to read:
“Rachel Ray finds inspiration in cooking, her family, and her dog.

Then there is the sign that reads:
“Attention: Toilet only for disabled elderly pregnant children.”
At least there will never be a line!

And in this example note the difference a comma makes:
Let’s eat grandpa!
Let’s eat, grandpa!

I thought of these internet memes after the bulletins for my installation were printed. I sent copies to Cindy Braunlich and Susan White who would be leading the Call to Worship. I soon received an email from Susan asking, “Any chance that the final punctuation on the last line is supposed to be a ‘!’ and not a ‘?’”

Oh boy! The Call to Worship began with a strong affirmation. In response to the question, “Who are you?” the congregation would respond, “We are children of God!” The litany was meant to end as it began, “Who are you?” but the congregation’s response read, “We are children of God?” Instead of an enthusiastic proclamation of our intimate relationship with God as parent, this simple punctuation error had the congregation responding with uncertainty and doubt, as if to say Um… Gosh, we don’t know. Are we really children of God?

After Susan pointed out the mistake I alternated between feeling embarrassed, laughing out loud, and thinking that the misplaced question mark revealed an important truth about our walk of faith. Regardless of what we say, pray and sing in church on Sundays, deep down we often have doubts. Am I really a child of God? With all the mistakes I’ve made, how is that possible?

I just couldn’t let the doubt implied by that stray question mark stand. On Saturday, I went through all three hundred bulletins and penned in a big exclamation point at the end of that sentence.

Absolutely! We are children of God! May First Church, Simsbury be that exclamation point for you, affirming God’s love for you, not just on Sundays but each and every day of your life. You are a child of God, precious in God’s sight!

In Christ,

Pastor George
Published in: on June 10, 2016 at 11:02 am  Leave a Comment  

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