A New Church Voice

For obvious reasons, I tend to prefer sitting in the back at church. It makes sneaking out much easier, and there’s a much smaller chance of the kids’ voices being picked up by the priest’s microphone. This past Sunday was an unusual day for us, however. J was speaking during the service so we had to sit in the front pew.

With C at Sunday school and J doing her churchly duty, I was left with our two-year old all to myself.

Everything went great until we got to the communion song. In our church, everyone files up from the pews to take communion. During this time, there’s a song. After you get communion, you’re supposed to go back to your pew, pray a bit, and then sing along.

Because we were in front, we were back in the pew very quickly. Also, the priest was literally standing right in front of me, maybe six feet away, giving communion to people. This wasn’t just a Eucharistic minister.

It was the head priest of the church, the guy who tilts his head forward to look admonishingly at you through bushy eyebrows.

Of course, this was when my two-year old finally had had enough. I was kneeling and singing along with the communion song when he leaned over and whispered quietly in my ear. “Daddy, I’m hungry.” Since I was holding him in one arm, he didn’t have far to lean. His head was already next to my ear.

I nodded and kept singing. It was a good Church Voice, whispered right into my ear. I don’t think anyone heard anything. Normally, I would have responded positively, but the priest was standing right there. So I just nodded and kept singing.

He (the two year old) waited until I took another breath and then. “I want a bagel.”

I nodded again.

“I want a bagel for breakfast.”

I nodded and kept singing.

“I want chocolate.”

This time I shook my head discreetly from side to side. I don’t think Father John noticed. If he did, however, he kept his eyebrows to himself. You can get away with nodding “yes” while singing. It looks like you’re agreeing with the song. Nodding no, however, kind of sends the wrong message.

“I want chocolate.”

This time when I tried to shake my head a pair of little hands grabbed my chin to stop me. With surprising strength, they pushed my head into nodding up and down. “I want chocolate” he whispered.

As my head nodded to his chocolate demands, I heard a giggle from one of the kids in the pew behind me and realized that I was, once again, center stage.

Lacking any better ideas, I continued singing and tried to ignore the involuntary nodding of my own head. Maybe, I thought, the gigglers behind me would get the attention I was trying to avoid.

Fortunately, Father John chose to ignore our antics. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a longer communion song, however.

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