“C’mon Reggie time for dinner! Go wash your hands, please,” shouted his dad over the din of the TV.
“When this show is over!” said Reggie.
“No, now, please,” said his dad.
Reggie sighed then turned off the TV. He pushed his Reggie-sized stool into the bathroom and placed it in front of the sink. He climbed on top of the stool and stretched out his arms to reach the taps.
A few minutes later he was ready to sit at the table.
He sat down next to his brother, Steve.
“Where’s mom?” Reggie asked.
“She should be home soon, she had to pick up some paint on the way home from work,” said his dad.
As if one cue, the door opened and their mom came in carrying three buckets of Banana Cream paint that she was going use on their bedroom.
“Just in time mommy! We’re already at the table to eat!” shouted Reggie.
“Mmmm…smells yummy! I’ll be right there!” his mom shouted back.
After putting down the paint and hanging up her coat, she came to the table and sat down.
“Okay,” she said, “let’s pray.”
“But you didn’t wash your hands, mommy!” shouted Reggie.
“I know, dear. I was in a hurry,” replied his mom.
“But that’s the rule. We have to wash our hands before we pray!”
“I know, but it will take too long, and don’t you want to eat? I’ll wash them after we pray.”
“No, you have to wash them BEFORE we pray,” said Reggie. “That’s the rule.”
“Reggie, I know that’s the rule, but we don’t have rules for the sake of rules. Your dad and I said that hands were to be washed before we pray so we don’t have a lot of running around before dinner.”
Reggie stared at his mom. His eyebrows scrunched.
“Remember in Sunday’s bible reading, where some of the religious leaders were giving Jesus a hard time for not washing his hands?”
“Yeah,” said Reggie. “They were mad because they were supposed to wash before eating, to get all the dirt and junk off their hands.”
“Well, the religious leaders didn’t really care about how clean the disciples were, like I know you were. They only cared that people followed the rules. And when people didn’t do what they thought was right, they got really mad.”
“So we only obey rules when we feel like it?” Steve asked with a twinkle in his eye.
Their mom laughed.
“Not quite,” she said. “It means that rules are there to help us, not to hurt us. But it also means that being a Christian is not a bunch of ‘do’s and don’ts’. Being a Christian is about being loved by God, even when we sometimes break the rules. Now, after we pray, I’ll go wash my hands, okay?”
“Okay,” said Reggie.
Then they said a pray like this as we do now: Dear God, thank you that you love us even when we break the rules. Amen.