Sunday, January 28, 2007

It's Greek to Me

So, today I was on the rota to lead children's chapel. This happens as the kids are dismissed from church - post-communion, pre-sermon - and before they go to Sunday School. Chapel is just for kids in grades 4-6 so it's a pretty fun group to talk to and wonder about things with. My task for today's chapel time was to engage them in a brief conversation about how worship is not a spectator sport, but something that requires participation by all of us. I decided to teach them the Greek word, leitourgia, from which our word liturgy is derived. It means "the work of the people" and I knew where I was headed with my "talk."

Well, I thought I knew where I was headed. As a potential illustration, I asked how many of them had seen the movie, "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." Over half the kids raised their hands so I proceeded. I asked them what they remembered about the movie as far as the Greek language was concerned. One kid, named Nick, remembered how all of the men in the family were named Nick. Another kid remembered what I was hoping they would remember which is that Mr. Portokalis was utterly convinced that every English word was derived from Greek - and he routinely set out to prove it. I was thinking of the scene where a smug friend of his teenage daughter challenged him with the word "kimono." So I asked the kids if they remembered the "part in the movie where someone tried to trick him by giving him a word that would be hard to translate." One young lady in our group raised her hand and said, "Oh, yeah...that was the word that meant something like, "I have three tenticles!" [For those of you who haven't seen this delightful film, my young friend was remembering an entirely different part of the movie where a non-Greek fiance is tricked into saying in Greek "I have three testicles!" to the family crowd gathered for a big engagement party.] My two 6th grade sons and two of their friends heroically did all they could to contain themselves from dying of laughter and embarrassment simultaneously. One of the adults in the room nearly spewed his coffee through his nose. I made a quick recovery and moved on to make my point, thanking her for her involvement and trying not to laugh.

Gracious God, I thank you for the innocence and earnestness of that child, and for the humor and humility it called forth in all of us who were present.


Offcenter said...

Hello, Jennifer+

Thanks for the comment and the book recommendations for my little reading public and me. I left a comment on your blog a few weeks ago about a post I admired.

My offline email is I'm actually ordained and a journalist-bad combination :-)

I was a priest in a parish like Truro or Falls Church-

At any rate, shoot me an email offline, and I'd be happy to chat,


Star Light, Star Bright said...

Loved this story, Jennifer!

Jennifer+ said...

Star light, star bright: Thanks for stopping by and reading it! BTW - your sermon on the "woman whose story would be told" is amazing!!! I need to look ahead and find out when it comes up in the lectionary and make sure to have you as a guest preacher that day. It's timeless, thoughtful, and...well...amazing.