The presence of a Grandmother in your life actually improves your chances of survival and your quality of life. Studies show that Grandmas have a special, fierce kind of attachment which translates into practical actions that increase the incidence of caring and healing. I heard it on Radio National’s Science report, so it must be true!
Anyway, this little tidbit just adds to the supporting evidence that we find about the benefits of living with our generations together. At St David’s Chelmer-Graceville parish, there has been a deliberate and gentle effort this year to incorporate intergenerational ideas within the worship and learning of the congregation.
Thinking over the latest service we planned, a celebration of Pentecost as the final day of Thy Kingdom Come wave of prayer, it is clear that there are things we can really enjoy about a humble group intentionally encouraging the generations to hang out! What struck me most were the sounds of the evening. Some of them went like this:
- The auditory texture of the service comes alive when young voices take responsibility for every second verse of the psalm. The voices of the “under 15’s” sound bright, engaged and keen while the “wise” voices sounded richer and slower, mellow, in contrast. And we all enjoyed hearing the difference – appreciated that there is a difference and that we have our kids with us in Church.
- Laughter bubbled up as groups moved between the five story-activities that took the place of a sermon. Conversations happened over the making of a prayer-wheel, and one young boy took the initiative to improve upon the design to create his own multi-layered prayer machine! Interestingly, we all noted that his dad made a similar “improvement” while engaged in the same activity later in the night! Ingenuity runs in the family and it felt good to be a part of it.
- The fizzing of sparklers and the whirling of wind-pipe instruments made out of conduit brought the group together for the final prayers. Kids commented that the wind sound was scary, and we noted that the disciples might have felt the same when they heard that sound all those years ago. One conversation afterwards remembered this feeling and talked of the wonder and strangeness of the Holy Spirit, that God’s power is comforting and wild and unpredictable at the same time.
What a joy and privilege it was to celebrate in this way!