They come running at us clapping and shout-singing like my 4 year olds but enunciating a lot more clearly: G-O-O-D M-O-R-N-I-N-G GOOD MORNING (WOOT WOOT) GOOD MORNING (WOOT WOOT) and lead us into a bright space with flying leaps and cartwheels. Stained glass windows line one side of the wall near the ceiling and there are the dark wood beams of early 18th century churches overhead. We walk in and like good Presbyterians sit in the back row but immediately get reprimanded for that by a lovely woman named Eileen. But, she lets us stay there as we watch sixty children stomp the floor not only with their feet but their bodies and voices and we can feel it in our feet.
And then they sing a song about “being strong and finding that what’s inside helps them to resist the wrong” and I just weep quietly. I cry any time kids are playing and singing hard – sometimes out of weariness and sometimes from being filled up.
Savannah is a rail in pink and short and bright kicks. Short hair that falls to her shoulders making her look a little older than her 9 years. I am taken with her green eyes and freckles. She is quiet and shy but smiles so huge as she explains the art on the wall that is hers. I wonder if she is someone that normally needs to be coaxed to talk aloud. I can almost see her buzzing with pride and excitement. I look behind her to see the influence of Matisse and Monet in these tissue-paper and crayon pieces.
Above us there are light bulbs hanging down from the ceiling like huge raindrops suspended in time. It’s a lovely effect these tiny angels that stay a little above our heads, and remind me that even when the sun is bright in the room the light from within is just as necessary.
I keep thinking about all these ways to perform hope. We embody it in our flesh and blood as we chant and step across the room. We express it in our art as we play with colors and mediums. We share stories, we explore with our songs – ones that we know and ones that we make up, we trample the darkness beneath our feet clutching each others’ hands with shouts of WOOTWOOT.
In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
and they shall prophesy.
Watching and listening I feel like I’m entering into their dreams a little but they’re dreams that feel so real and alive. And this is church – walking, singing these dreams.