Jordan took this picture because when she first looked into the darkened sanctuary, her thought was, “But, Mom, it’s not Sunday.” I was there to take Jacob for acolyte training, and while the organist was explaining the chancel, parts of the service, etc. to Jacob, I sat in a far corner pew. There’s something quite comforting about an empty sanctuary with afternoon light streaming through the stained glass. It hadn’t been a good day, and I sat in the silence and talked to the Lord about that, asked for his help.
Jacob kept this appointment only under threats and duress. He was not going to do it. Couldn’t we just not show up (I said his mom was meeting us and he said he didn’t care) and explain Sunday that he didn’t want to do it. I said no. The organist, who walked him through things, was good with him, and by the time he was robed and handed the whatever-it-is that lights the candles, he was quite enjoying himself. His mom came along, and since acolytes usually work in pairs, she was his partner. They walked up and down the center aisle, climbed the steps to the chancel, lit candles, practiced sitting in the correct seats simultaneously. Jordan’s comment after three trips: “That’s really a long aisle.”
There are strict requirements for an acolyte—hair brushed (his curly mop was wild and adorable after a day at school, but he was headed for a haircut), dress shoes (he had on sneakers), and I presume proper clothing under the robe. Through third grade many kids come to church in shorts and a collared shirt but Jordan says fourth grade is a transition year.
I’m proud of Jacob and of his dad, who is now a deacon in the church. When I was growing up on the South Side of Chicago, church was an important part of my life, particularly my social life. I like to see that tradition carried on.