Sunday, November 16, 2008

Faith Development

My daughter's understanding of religion is budding. When saying grace at dinner, she either thanks God for everything under the sun, or she thanks Him for the elephants at the zoo. We find this both sweet and amusing. Some of her other recently expressed thoughts on religion include:

She and I were looking at pictures in her child's encyclopedia, and we came across a drawing of Thomas Edison working on a light bulb prototype. She asked for details. I said:
"That's Thomas Edison. He figured out how to make light bulbs, so now we can have lights in our house."
Daughter: "Oh. He makes lights for us? Oh! Just like God makes lights!"
Me: "Um...yes. God also makes light."
Daughter: (pointing to picture of Edison) "Mommy? Is that God?"

This morning we visited a nearby Lutheran church. My daughter enjoyed the colorful banners and stained glass windows, neither of which we have at our church. She found one banner depicting the sacrament of communion. Pointing to the chalice on the banner, she whispered reverently (we were, after all, in church): "Mommy? Is that an ice cream cone?"

In the car recently, my daughter was playing with an old set of keys. She dropped them on the floor of the backseat, and I twisted and stretched from the front seat to get them for her. I warned her to be careful, because I would not pick them up if she dropped them again. Naturally, she dropped them again. My husband reminded her of my warning and she seemed to resign herself to not getting her keys until we got home. She sighed and said: "Maybe God will help me get my keys. He's here, you just can't see Him." Then she prayed that God would help her. Yeah...needless to say, she got her keys back.

At the Lutheran church this morning, my daughter enjoyed "reading" the bulletin. It was a good 15 pages long. The front cover had a picture of a stained glass window depicting the parable of the master who entrusts his servants with his talents. It was a very traditional picture, white beards, long robes, fiercely authoritative figures. At one point my daughter couldn't find the bulletin amongst her other papers, and she asked, "Where is my God magazine?"

I find her understanding of God to be sweet and sincere. Is her understanding really much less than mine? I have, after all, only 25 more years of learning than she does. In the matter of eternity, how much difference does 25 years make? Perhaps her understanding is better than mine. She accepts God's love for her without question, without shame, without guilt. She is not afraid to question that which she does not understand. Faith like a child. I hope God smiles at my understanding of Him, feeble as it is. I hope He finds it to be sweet and sincere.

photo by woowoowoo

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