LIFE'S LESSONS: CHURCH
April 11, 1780
Elizabeth Kennedy gently shook her youngest son, "Wake up, little one."
Little Archie sat up and rubbed his sleepy eyes, "Mama?"
She picked the sleepy toddler up, "I have to get you dressed for church."
Archie cocked his little head, "What dat, Mama?"
"Church is where you go," Elizabeth explained as she began took his little night shirt, "to pray and worship God."
Archie turned a puzzled frown up at his mother, "Mama, what God?"
Elizabeth closed her eyes and lowered her head, trying to stop the smile that was threatening to come. Her son was too young to understand. This was not going to be easy to explain. She would have to word it carefully.
"God," Elizabeth told him in his his finest suit of clothes, "made everything. He made the entire world. He made you, and your brothers, and your sisters, and your Papa and I. He made all the animals, the mountains, the rivers, the lakes, and the seas."
"We go a see Him?" Archie asked wide eyed.
"We will not see him." Elizabeth smiled, "We will see statues of him."
"What sa..sa..." Archie cocked his eyes, "What d'at, Mama?"
"A statue?" At her toddler's nod, Elizabeth said, "A statue is a...." She sighed, trying to think of how to put this. Then said, "You have seen the portrait of Mama in the parlor?"
Archie nodded, " 'ou lobe'y, Mama."
"Thank you, Archie." Elizabeth kissed the small child's soft cheek, and Archie reached up with his little arms, wanting to embrace his mother.
Elizabeth picked the child up, "My precious little angel."
Little Archie kissed his mother's cheek, "I lobe 'ou, Mama."
"I love you, my babe boy." Elizabeth cuddled him. Then took him down to the parlor, "See that?" Elizabeth pointed to her portrait. Archie nodded, and she smiled at him, "Well, a statue is when they make a portrait of you in stone. You will see."
The Kennedy family climbed out of the coach and went into the church.
Archie enjoyed the singing. He loved music! He even tried to sing with them, making a face at his mother when she put her hand over his mouth and told him to hush.
When mass was over, Elizabeth carried Archie up to see the statues. She stopped in front of the cross. "This is God, Archie." She pointed to the statue.
Little Archie frowned, "Why he b'eedin', Mama?"
"Because they nailed His hands and feet to the cross to keep Him on it." Elizabeth said.
"Why d'ey do dat?" Archie cocked his head.
"A very long time ago," Elizabeth explained, "people were being bad. They would not keep God's laws. When you do not obey God's laws, you commit a sin. And people were committing very bad sins, that made God sad."
"D'ey not be good?" Archie asked.
"No, they were not." Elizabeth smiled at him, "And their sins were killing their souls."
Blinking rapidly, Archie frowned, "What dat, Mama?"
Elizabeth smiled at the toddler looking up at her confused, "Your soul is your spirit." She put her hand on his little chest, "Your soul is right in here. And when your life is over, your soul goes to one of three places. If you are good, your soul will go to Heaven. If you have not been completely good, your soul goes to Purgatory, and if you have been very bad, your soul goes to Hell."
"Heaven is a beautiful place," Elizabeth told him, "where everyone is happy with God. Purgatory is full of fire and sorrow, and people who were not completely good are sent there because they had been bad. And after a time, it goes to Heaven. But if people were very bad, they go to Hell where they burn in fire forever."
Little Archie's eyes were as round as saucers, "I don' wan' a go d'ewe!"
"You are a good boy, Archie." Elizabeth kissed his forehead, "You do not have to worry about that."
Archie frowned even more, "Why d'ey huwt God?"
"Well," Elizabeth said, "people were being bad, and they were not going to Heaven. God did not want that to happen, so he sent his son, Jesus, to earth to be a man like us. And when he died on the cross, he destroyed the sins that were keeping people from going to Heaven. Jesus died on the cross, and then he came back to life, and now, people can go to Heaven with him."
"I wan' a go t' Heaben, Mama." Archie looked worried and pointed to the cross, "But I don' wan' d'em a huwt me 'ike dat."
Tears came to Elizabeth's eyes at that and she kissed his cheek, "No one is going to do that to you, precious. Jesus died on the cross so we can go to Heaven. And we come to church to honor what He did for us."
Archie looked at the statue for several moments, "D'ey huwt His hands."
"An' His feet."
Little Archie frowned, "Why His be'hy b'eedin''?"
"To make certain He was dead," Elizabeth said, "one of the soldiers pierced His side with a lance."
"It huwt." Archie whispered. He quietly looked at the cross for a moment, then said, "Dat sad, Mama."
"I know, precious." Elizabeth smiled slightly, "But remember God loves us so much that He gave His only son for us."
"God lobes me?" Archie cocked his little head.
"He loves you very much, Archie." Elizabeth smiled at him, "We have to go now."
"I wan' a gibe God a kiss, Mama." Archie said.
Smiling, Elizabeth held Archie closer to the cross and Archie gave the statue a kiss, "I lobe 'ou, God."
Elizabeth bit her lip, trying not to laugh at how precious her little son was.
Archie pointed to the other statues, "Who d'ey, Mama?"
Elizabeth spent the next half hour introducing Archie to every statue in the church. "We have to go home now, Archie."
"We come a see God 'gain, Mama?" Archie's big blue eyes looked up at her.
Smiling, Elizabeth said, "We are going to come visit God every Sunday."
The cute little cherub face lit up and Archie turned toward the statues and waved, "I come 'gain."
Trying to stifle her snicker, Elizabeth carried her out of the church, not noticing the green eyes that watched her and her son.
Smiling, the priest turned to the statue of Christ, "You have made angels in all shapes, Lord. But none as precious as a child."