Bubbling with Joy

Submitted by Joyce Hollyday on April 2, 2013 - 10:18am
Creating memories for the young ones


A few weeks ago, the teenagers from Circle of Mercy, the faith community that I co-pastor, traveled to an Episcopal church for a program with the youth there. Upon their arrival, they immediately made their way to the parish hall and ran up to its balcony. They had to look hard, but eventually they found a few petrified strands of Silly String.

A decade ago, when they were young children, Circle of Mercy rented that parish hall for our worship space. Before church on Easter Sunday, my co-pastor had sent them up to hide in the balcony, armed with canisters of the brightly colored, plastic string. During the opening hymn, they popped up and, giggling uncontrollably, showered the congregation with streams of the stuff.

“I wonder what memories our Circle of Mercy kids now will have,” one of the teens said as she offered her appreciation for that favorite Easter recollection. It seems to me that couched in her wondering was a question that communities should ask themselves on a regular basis: What memories are we creating for the youngest ones among us?

The words of a teenager thinking of our littlest ones prompted me to concoct an Easter surprise for our service this year. As we do every Easter at Circle of Mercy, we adorned a large cross with flowers, sang hymns, shared testimonies of resurrection hope, and broke bread together. Then three of us stood up to offer a choral reading of Wendell Berry’s “Manifesto: Mad Farmer Liberation Front” for our benediction.

Before we began, I pushed the button on the bubble machine (the makers promise “buzzillions of bubbles!”) that I had hidden behind the altar. We had just proclaimed the words “Be joyful though you have considered all the facts,” when a huge fountain of bubbles began pouring up to the ceiling. With energy to match, our children were soon pouring out of their seats. By the time we were proclaiming the final words—“Practice resurrection”—the kids were giggling, dancing around, chasing and catching bubbles.

I think it’s a moment they’ll remember. The rest of us, too. What memories is your community creating for the young ones?




The Power of Play

Thank you for sharing this Joyce.  As I was reading it I was reminded of a book I had read recently called "Play: How it shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and invigorates the Soul" by Stuart Brown. (He has a great Ted Talk HERE).  These are two beautiful stories of play.  Kids play naturally but as we get older, we seem to sometimes forget to play ourselves.  Play is a great way to build community.  Recently, I went home to visit my parents and discovered that a group of neighbourhood kids were playing hockey.  Forgetting my age, I quickly dashed inside, grabed my old hockey stick and joined them, and was immediatly accepted into the crew.  I had a blast, it is a day I will not soon forget, and I am sure the kids will remember it as well when this grown up randomly joined their game.

Using humour and play also makes a message stick, a great example of this is the silly string escapade that the youth still remember from their younger days.

Bubbles vs Boring

I love the bubbles idea! Hmmm, how could I do that?

It strikes me that it is the dramatic that is easy to remember but what about the everyday stuff or the more boring stuff? Sticking with church community childhood memories I can think of an example of a "boring" memory that sticks in a positive and powerful way: lying under the chairs and my dad's feet as the congregation sang. I was in my own little peaceful world but surrounded by such warmth, love, and music.

Thanks for the reminder to ask ourselves what memories we are creating.

A Massive Egg Hunt

Hi Joyce,

Thanks for sharing this experience with us- what a wonderful surprise: to celebrate and worship surrounded by bubbles. What fun!

Easter Sunday we have a tradition at my church- the Gathering Church in Kitchener, ON. We hide over 1,500 plastic eggs, filled with candy outside, on the school property of the school we meet in each Sunday. This year, we had over 400 people from the neighbourhood come to hunt for eggs. They came ready with baskets, bags and bunny ears. The children, of all ages loved this event!