on my way

a few weeks ago my friend Troy came for a visit. when i walked into the kitchen where he was shredding cheese for our burrito dinner he said, “do you know about godly play? you need to read Sofia Cavalletti.” the sweetest words ever spoken. i just love book recommendations. and especially personal ones…you need to read this book. sadly, the library didn’t have anything on godly play and nothing by Cavalletti.

and then i discovered inter-library loan. books brought from any library in the world to your little branch. and usually it’s free. can you imagine?

i’ll just quote you one little gem from The Religious Potential of the Child. it is a quiet and profound book applying some of the ideas of Maria Montessori to the spiritual formation of children. listen:

the receivers of the Word are the child and the adult:
they are simultaneously announcers and listeners.

our job isn’t only to teach our children. we too are supposed to listen and be transformed. and often the proclamation comes on the lips of our children. if we have ears to hear.

and so with all these thoughts swimming around in my head, we went to church on Sunday. happens almost every week in this house. the priest shared a sermon for children about what lent is for. and she got it all wrong. (except for the part about drawing a picture of her family and lining each person up tallest to shortest! i loved that detail.) her story was about how she colored on someone’s paper in grade school. and she should have made better choices. and that’s what lent is all about–learning how to make better choices. yes, historically lent has included some piece of self-denial, a way of bringing discipline to our days. but it’s not primarily a self-improvement venture. bringing that sort of moralistic pressure to kids and telling them that’s what God wants just seems wrong to me.

the message of lent and the coming season of easter is that Jesus died, was buried, and on the third day rose again. rising from the dead is a bit more radical than self help. and it’s not cool or fashionable or really even palatable to talk about resurrection. but the power that is waking our earth up after the cold winter, the power that makes seeds buried in the ground rise up and grow to bring beauty and nourishment, that power brought Jesus to life again. and it’s the same power that is in us. it’s the power that brought our children into our lives, the power that is growing them up day by day. and if we will welcome this fiery power, we will be transformed. from glory to glory.


  1. Thanks for this, as I have grown accustomed to ‘working’ on Easter, this is a great reminded to enjoy.

  2. Amazing! I feel God’s power within me just reading your post. Love to you, Andy and little Mabel. Phan

  3. years ago, I was on the lookout for a church that enveloped godly play philosophies into its children’s program. i haven’t thought much about it since then, i should do some re-reading.

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