27 Feb Holding Hands High
“Put your hands in the air!”
These words are often sung along (albeit incorrectly) in our house to a catchy song from a recent animated film that encourages loving one’s enemies and the excessive use of glitter. As a parent, my hands are not always raised in the air, but they are certainly in the air accomplishing various tasks: zipping up sleep sacks, changing diapers, making and cleaning up food, putting hair into ponytails, making and cleaning up more food, separating laundry or squabbling siblings, and occasionally, dancing around the kitchen with my hands up, literally in the air.
In an Old Testament battle against Amalekites, Moses, Aaron, and Hur stood at the top of a hill. Moses had the staff of God in his hand, and when he held his hand up, the Israelites prevailed, and when he lowered it, the Amalekites prevailed. All he has to do is keep up the good work, right? A one-man job! Just keep the hands in the air! But Exodus 17:12 says, “But Moses’ hands grew weary, so [Aaron and Hur] took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it, while Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side. So his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.”
Parent/Child Dedication weekend is approaching, and I can tell you this: Many a parent within our church has his or her hands in the air, whether in celebration, silliness, exasperation, or pain. Some of these parents have Aarons and Hurs in their lives. Buoys who encourage and build up parents and their children as long as it is called today.
This is why Parent/Child Dedication is a public event. It’s not just a show of gratitude for a precious, God-given gift. It’s not solely a public dedication of the child – and parent – to God and His church. It’s not just an announcement of the parents’ commitment to raise a child in a home that honors Christ and abides by His Word. A key element of Parent/Child Dedication is the reminder that the whole church family is committed to support parents and children in the ongoing parenting journey.
You and I and the person next to you in the pew are the Aarons and the Hurs, holding families’ hands up and steady until the going down of the sun. And we all know the days are long and the years are short, so “until the setting of the sun” is no short time.
What does it look like to help hold hands high?
As the body of Christ, we work as a collective unit to encourage and build one another up. At our church, we have what we call Legacy Landmarks, and they are significant moments and passages in life as each member of the body grows in spiritual maturity. Each of us at any time might be in a certain stage of life and spiritual growth, but we also get to help someone else along in other areas. As a parent, I have appreciated many loving gestures and observed great evidence of support of others within our church body:
The genuinely kind smiles instead of frowns from the pew in front of us when we have a fresh newborn making happy bumblebee noises.
The dozens and dozens of baby-home-from-the-hospital meals over the years. (Man, our church can cook!)
Flowers on my doorstep remembering a day dear to our family’s heart.
The faithful, diaper-changing, “sit down please”, Jesus-Loves-You singing of the nursery and preschool teachers who love and teach our children well. (Can I get an “Amen!”?)
The fact that my four-year-old knows that Jochebed is Moses’ mom, and my two-year-old tries to do the motions to “Jesus Loves Me” even though her singing noises do not yet include words.
The buckets and vats of blood, sweat, tears, and prayers poured into Kids Week (formerly known as VBS) every year.
The been-there-not-so-long-ago mentors who come to our living rooms to sit with us sleep-deprived and weary moms, listening to and encouraging our hearts while our kids nap (or don’t).
The love, prayers, and verbal and tangible encouragement us as we mourned the loss of a child.
The long and sundry hours of the youth ministers and volunteers, their on-the-clock teaching times and off-the-clock texts and Snapchats and real, live face-to-face conversations over coffee and ice cream.
The prayers, from the hope of pregnancy to the time to send a kid away to college and after. And oh, the joy of seeing some of Legacy’s own returning after college to work and serve alongside those who poured into them at a young age!
YOU, whether you have kids, don’t have kids, or think of kids as people with consistently sticky hands, can be this kind of support to someone in our church. May we hold high the hands of the parents and children in our church family until the setting of the sun.
Megan is part of Legacy’s Olathe campus, along with her husband and three young children, who both keep her from, and provide excellent fodder for, writing.