So yesterday morning I got to church and prepared for praying matins (morning prayer) with the students at Christ Lutheran Academy. I do this at least 3 mornings a week, so this is a fairly regular occurrence to me. I vested and got ready for the service. As I said in church waiting for the children to file in, I looked down. What did I see?
Sometimes when it is snowy and I know that I’m going to be at church all day, I simply wear my snow boots to church and then noodle around in my slippers during the day. A silly indulgence, I grant, but that’s how I roll sometimes.
It was too late to go hunt down some shoes. I was vested, sitting down. Matins would begin in a few minutes. So what did I do? I prayed matins in my slippers, of course.
This may seem a little silly, and it is. But it also drew my attention to an important reality. Children matter to God. They matter so much to God that he “suffers the little children to come to him,” to enter into his presence, and to receive all of the many blessings which he gives to all of us. Children matter as much to him as anyone else. He calls all of us His children. In many respects, that is the dominant motif for our relationship to God in the Scriptures. We are His children, His sheep, His flock, His branches. It is a relationship of giving and receiving and giving back to Him.
So what does this have to do with my slippers, you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you.
I wonder sometimes why I vest for chapel every morning. Why go through all of the work and effort? I mean, the kids wouldn’t care, would they? The teachers would probably care, but they are far to nice and respectful to say anything to me (I think!). So why go through all of the work?
In fact, we can broaden that question out even farther. Why bother with parochial schools at all? Why make the expense, the hassle, the wear and tear on the buildings, and the effort that it takes to teach God’s Word to these little sinners every single day? Why?
We do this because it is our identity. We teach these children, give them honor and respect, and raise them to be God’s people because that is who they are by virtue of their baptism. We teach them by word and deed that they matter to God, that He longs to give them all good things, and that they are of infinite worth to Him.
That is also, by the way, why we have the Divine Service here every Wednesday. That is why I urge our children to receive the gift of Christ’s body and blood, to long for it, learn of it, and to desire it as God’s greatest gift.
Will the world end if matins is prayed in slippers? Nope. I may even do it again. But how we behave toward the least of those among us is a confession of who we are as God’s people. What you do matters. Even the slippers.