By Amanda Wischkaemper
Transformation isn’t always obvious. Certainly, there are moments and experiences that seem to announce themselves, thundering: “You have been changed!” deep within your heart. Other moments knock quietly; the shift may not be felt until later.
On Monday mornings, I lead Children’s Chapel for the Day School. This is one of the highlights of my week. The younger toddlers follow along with our songs and prayers as they sprout before my eyes, growing incrementally each week. The preschool and Kindergarten children participate more, with robust singing and big, wide-eyed questions about the Gospel. These moments are the immediate, obvious kind of transformation: I soak up the kids’ joy every week, and I can feel their spirits lift and change me. Whatever I offer to them, I know I gain back ten-fold.
Sunday mornings are more challenging. For those of us in church work, it’s a balance to find time for our own worship and spiritual development among myriad administrative and ministry duties. Most Sundays find me running laps up and down the stairs, and back and forth through the hallways. St. David’s has an embarrassment of riches in worship and formation options, which can make for a busy—not always sacred—Sunday morning.
This past Sunday was different. As usual, I ran a 5k in the stairwells and hallways, delivering snacks and supplies, checking on teachers, and running interference with classroom management. It was a normal morning of Sunday school. After children were signed out and classrooms closed up, I dashed up to Bethell Hall. It was the first Sunday of the Austin Artist Series in the 11:15 a.m. service, and I was desperate to make it in time to hear Dre Allen and his group. I arrived just in time for “Baptize Me,” the spectacular Offertory Anthem they’d written for The Baptism of Christ Gospel lesson. The music was inspiring, kinetic, vibrant, and sacred; the Spirit moved in Bethell and it was exciting!
After the Peace I ran over to the Historic Church. There were five Baptisms—including two of my Sunday school kiddos—and I had to be there! Again, I made it just in time. As can be the case with older children, these particular Baptisms were full of laughter; the delight and Spirit were contagious in Historic!
I made it back to back to Bethell to hear the group’s Postlude. After the service, several parishioners went to greet and thank our guest artists. I noticed several youth—a couple of whom I know would prefer dental extraction to church much of the time—approaching and greeting Dre and Bear with HUGE smiles on their faces. This touched them! They’d heard and felt a worship experience that moved them.
At the time, it felt like a great Sunday. Not necessarily transformative or life-changing, but successful. But, I think I was wrong. All week, I’ve found myself going back to Sunday morning: watching my co-worker praise the Lord with talent and verve; seeing my friend’s child dive elbow-deep in the Baptismal font; observing some of our “too cool for school” kids feeling moved, excited, and included in our worship. This felt like just a Sunday—making my rounds, running my laps—but as I reflect, I see that it was a perfect image of St. David’s BEING the Body of Christ. Last Sunday may have knocked quietly at first, but now I can hear it thundering loud and clear.