Sounds of Sunday Morning

Sounds of Sunday Morning

The infectious sound of a familiar song makes its way up the stairs and into my bedroom. Worship music fills the house from the speaker system downstairs, and my mom and dad walk from room to room rehearsing that morning’s choir selection and singing their favorite songs as they get ready for the day. I lie in bed with my eyelids still shut tight, but I’m awake and I’m singing.

It’s Sunday morning.

This sweet memory of my childhood in the Rainer household is one I have carried close to me into my adult years. It was a family liturgy I always imagined carrying on and introducing to my future children one day – waking them up on Sunday mornings with song on my lips and theirs, with a sacred anticipation in our hearts for a day spent with family, being and doing Church.

//

My eyes are wide open. I can’t take my eyes off my newborn son. My husband stands in front of the window holding our Seth, swaying back and forth as sunlight shines through the blinds and into my post-partum room.

It’s Sunday morning.

Gungor is still playing quietly on repeat in the background. I reflect on the days before, exhausted but wide awake. And I’m singing.

Come like dawn
Like grace
Like sunlight
Bring this world to life

My husband had compiled a labor playlist with as many Girl Power anthems as we could find. I wanted to feel as powerful as ever as my body brought new life into this world, but I had never felt more weak and vulnerable as I labored. Instead, he kept Gungor playing on shuffle to ease our anxious minds.

Please be my strength.  

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After an induction, a stubborn cervix, a lengthy labor, a failed epidural and an unsuccessful 90 minutes of pushing, my baby and I were both tired.

In my head I visualized myself writing down all my fears and worries, placing my anxieties carefully in small boxes, and stacking the boxes onto one another. This helped me to forget about the pain. This helped me to overcome my many anxieties by acknowledging them and then putting them out of sight. I fell asleep on the operating table stacking boxes in my head.

I heard a wailing baby. “It’s a Boy!” I heard someone say. My husband squeezed my hand, leaned down and whispered in my ear "We have a son!" Then all went quiet.

Life is here now, breathe it all in
Let it all go, you are earth and wind

I awoke in an empty recovery room. I breathed relief, as my most recent days had me vulnerably reflecting on my mortality. I looked around to catch a glimpse of the fruit of my labor. Where was my son?

It would be twelve hours before the sweet sounds of my newborn finally made their way from the hospital nursery, where he had been under oxygen, to my post-partum room where I held my son for the very first time.

Worship filled my soul, my being. Me, a mother. Him, my child. I breathed a prayer of gratitude and awe as they reached out and handed me my son.

Out of chaos Life is being found in You
You make beautiful things out of us

//

Little one, It’s Sunday morning.

I wake up to your coos and your giggles. Your father sings you the Doxology and I sing You Are My Sunshine. Your grin widens, the sweetest sounds fill our ears and our hearts as you kick your legs with glee, and the memory of our sleepless night before quickly fades. We consider staying in bed and skipping church, not because we don’t want to go, but because family cuddles in bed seem as worshipful as worship gets.

Little one, days like these may not always be joy-filled or come easy for you. In fact, the older you become the harder Sunday mornings may also become. That was, and still is, true of me; it might also be true of you, though I pray it is not. Sometimes, when you’ve lived with the churchy stuff for an entire quarter of a lifetime, Sunday mornings lose their charm. Church-going starts feeling like an obligation. Church-being starts feeling forced - the motions, the socializing, the volunteering, the singing, the sitting, the standing.

But it’s the sacramental moments of turning up my favorite hymns and songs and starting my Sunday preparing my heart and my mind for God’s grace, that carry me out the door and into community, into church.

 It’s Sunday morning.

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Birth photo credits: Cheri Rainer

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