For the past 15 years or so, I've been spending Sunday mornings with young children in a program called Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. You may have wondered what keeps me there, week after week, year after year. Well, let me tell you a story.
When I was young, I remember seeing the difference between the world as it is and the world as we want it to be. I remember marching for peace in Central Park in 1982 when it seemed nuclear war was a real possibility. I remember being moved by Ben Kingsley's portrayal of Ghandi. I knew that I wanted to see that day when God will "wipe away every year from their eyes". But how will that come to pass?
At first I believed that political action would bring it about. I'm still politically active, but in time I learned that political systems are just reflections of the human heart, and that's where the important changes need to happen. In the meantime, I married and had children. We came to Saint Luke's. And there was this Sunday school that my kids really liked called Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. I learned that there was a need for people to train as Catechists. I wanted to help out, and I wanted to know what kind of Sunday school this was that my kids actually liked (I had hated Sunday school!). I went to the training.
In this week's reading from Acts, Peter describes the experience of the Holy Spirit being present when he spoke. That experience was what I felt in our training. It was a feeling that I can't really describe, although peace, joy and wonder were there. And I felt that bringing this to children, helping them to know the presence of God, could bring us all closer to the Kingdom of God that Jesus spoke of so often. That is what the atrium means to me. It's a place where the Holy Spirit can enter us, children and adults alike, and move us closer to the day when there will be no more crying and no more pain. If that sounds good to you, come visit us in the atrium!