This past Sunday I thoroughly enjoyed and was moved by our children’s participation in the worship service. From one of our older elementary kids praying to our kids mimicking the hand motions during communion, it was a blessing to see them be part of leading the worship of Jesus. I was kept on my toes with their questions as well! I was blown away by their questions and the depth of insight that they led us into in our conversation. I’ll have to say, Stephanie Dunn, our Christian Education Coordinator had a great idea when she suggested this sermon of Q & A. Over and over again throughout the service, I heard Jesus’ words in Matthew, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these (Matthew 19:14),” in my head during the service.
In Jesus’ days, children were barely noticed. At times they were just considered property. And yet, Jesus opens the door for them to have a place of honor and privilege to sit at His feet. I imagine they were disruptive. Afterall some of the disciples tried to shoo them away. And, I imagine, they didn’t understand what was “proper” or “right.” Yet, what Jesus saw in them was the potential to know God and love God. He saw in them a hunger for knowledge, love, and community.
I witnessed the same on Sunday. I was captivated by the eye contact each child had as they asked questions, and I answered as part of the sermon. Many never diverted their attention from a word that was coming from my mouth. I saw a hunger in their eyes to hear words about God, to learn, and to be listened to. It was awe inspiring.
Jesus’ words have reverberated in my mind throughout the rest of this week. “Let the little children come unto me...” I’ve been thinking that a child may not just be one who is a certain age, but could be any person just entering into the life of faith. Jesus came to the hungry, the vulnerable, the sinful, the weary, and said, “You have a place.” As I’ve let those words sit with me, I’ve wondered what children have I prevented from coming to Jesus? Whether it’s my attitude, assumptions, selfishness, or more, I know at times I’ve not allowed some of God’s children (whether aged 3 or 33) to enter into His presence. I have to be a spiritual adult which means having the same mind as Christ Jesus. I have to be willing to imagine once again what it’s like to see a spiritual child walk into church for the first time or join us online for the first time. I have to realize there is a great hunger of God in those who’ve yet to step foot or just have stepped foot in our congregational life that may need feeding. Such may require me to move to the side and let them sit at Jesus’ feet. It may require hearing Jesus’ rebuke to not hinder them or require me to help them find Jesus. All this means the bearing of a cross to move my desires out of the way so that another’s spiritual need can be met.
This week I find myself grateful for the lesson our kids have taught me. Let the children come and may we assist in whatever way we can to help them find the joy we have uncovered in Jesus Christ.