Eat, Pray, Hold

How to Respect Other Religions

Two weeks after returning from my maternity leave, it happened: no childcare during an important church meeting.

I hesitantly brought my son to the Monday morning prayer group.  I held him in my lap and closed my eyes tightly.  As the group began to pray through the ten-page prayer list, all I could manage to pray was, "Dear God, please help Felix stay quiet and still - please!"  By the time we got to the second page, Felix had started his chorus of ooooo-ing, ahhhh-ing, gurgling, blowing bubbles, and completely interrupting the praying of name after name after name.

I squeezed him tighter and prayed even harder, "Be quiet, little love - please!"

His oooooo-s and ahhhhh-s became squeals; his gurgles, grunts; his bubbles, shrieks.  I fearfully opened an eye to survey the damage and, to my surprise, I saw twelve lovely ladies making silly faces back at my son.

When we finished praying, they all lined up to hold him.  They let him pull their hair, remove their glasses, and drool on their nice cardigans - my cup overflowed and all fear banished!  These women were doing the strong, quiet work of being church: praying for the concerns of the world while loving and accepting us for who we were!

It’s happened many times since: during a "Habitat for Humanity" dinner, my baby smashed his hands into a church member’s mashed potatoes; at a recent trustee meeting, he spit up on the pile of printed agendas; during Sunday morning worship, I wore him on my chest to preached the good news of the gospel and he burst out into tears.

I used to fear bringing my little one to outreach dinners or prayer meetings or Sunday morning worship but my church is teaching me how to be Christian:

Eat together. 

Pray together. 

Hold each other's babies.

I'm pretty sure these three things will banish fear, heal the world, unite us all across every barrier imaginable, and teach us how to be the kind of Christians - covered in mashed potatoes and drool - that Jesus can be proud of...


A big SALT "thank you" to Rev. Sarah Taylor Peck - writer, preacher, and Senior Minister of Community Christian Church - for these beautiful words!  And, a huge "thank you" to Claire Konishi - graphic designer, visual storyteller, and mastermind behind @spoonfulofcolor - for creating this beautiful print piece, "How to Respect Other Religions."