Bedtime theology with the tiniest theologian...
There's no dialogue here because the smallest theologian in my house doesn't say much, yet. I gave birth to our third child a few weeks ago, which is why this blog has been a bit quiet. We're in rest and recovery mode here. Everyone is healthy and everyone is tired. It's a joyful, holy and exhausting time.
I started this blog when my older children started asking questions about God and faith and life. Now I'm holding a little person who has no questions yet, but who is learning about trust and love from my spouse and me. If you cry, we will pick you up, When you're hungry, we will feed you. When you feel alone, we will let you lie on our chests, for hours if need be. I read somewhere that children who don't learn basic trust early on from their caregivers have a hard time imagining a caring and loving God. It's comforting to think we can put down a basic theological foundation for our children in the repetitive (sometimes tedious) acts of meeting a baby's basic needs. So much of love is simply showing up.
Like any parent of a newborn, I wonder who this child will be. Will this baby be a good sleeper? (Not bad, so far). Will this child be outspoken, shy, courageous, animated, sensitive or reserved? What questions about God and faith and life will this little one ask me? How will those questions be different when there are two older siblings to jump in first to answer? Will I answer those faith questions differently, now that I'm a more seasoned parent? As my faith grows and evolves, how will those bedtime theology conversations be different than before?
Who knows? But I'm thrilled to get to do this parenting gig again, from day one.
The photo in this post is taken from a standard-issue rocking chair, one you'd find in any furniture store. It's the third time around for this chair too, a place I've spent many long nights rocking and singing. Nights with a newborn can be a lonely time, and it was especially so with my first child, who was not a great sleeper.
To pass the time nursing and burping and holding, I would sing hymns. As many as I could remember, with as many verses as I could recall. I'd sing liturgies, too, the call-and-response sung portions of a Lutheran worship services. It calmed me and reminded me of God's presence during those long nights.
But it was also part of that theological foundation. I imagined myself drenching my baby with the words and phrases and melodies of those sacred songs, as if the love of God could seep in through the music. Perhaps it can. I'm doing it again, and again and again as this babe and I get to know each other.
Faith and love and trust and Lutheran hymns first. And then, all the questions. I'm so glad to have you, dear reader, along on the journey.