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Posts tagged ‘children’

And a Little Child Shall Lead Them

[Jesus said,] “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”  Mark 10:14 (NRSV)

Tomorrow in both of our churches we will celebrate the nativity through our children’s pageant.  This has been a tradition in church with a variety of presentations for decades.  I’m always struck by the ways in which we adults revel in hearing the “old, old story” of Jesus’ birth in new ways, and especially through our children.

Maybe it’s because we have so much to learn from our children.  I wonder sometimes if their innocence and absorbing stories and information like sponges is some of what Jesus was talking about when he told his disciples to let the children come to him.

When we look at the history of the culture during Jesus’ day, we discover that children were not considered worth anything until they were old enough to begin carrying their load of the family business or the household duties.  But, throughout the gospels, we find references to being like children in order to receive the kingdom of God.

Sometimes I think we become jaded as we grow older.  Our habit become part of who we are, and our opinions are rigid and unchangeable.  Whenever I preach, I am also preaching to myself because I need to hear the Good News over and over again, too.  I need to hear the reminders of what it means to be a person of faith.  I need to hear the instructions from Jesus about how to live my life as one of his followers.

Yet, there are also times when I wonder if anyone really pay attention to what I am saying. It seems as if behaviors don’t change much, but then I have to ask whether MY behavior has changed as I try to live in Jesus’ ways.  Besides, I trust that God is working through the preaching because I certainly don’t have all the answers – only God has those.  I am just the vehicle through whom God speaks – or doesn’t.  We all hear the words and apply them as best we can, the behavior changes come from God.

So, when Jesus said to let the little children come to him, I think he really meant that, not only are the children welcome in the Kingdom, but they have something to teach us, too.  I guess that’s why I enjoy the pageants – the children are teaching and preaching to us all about Jesus.  Maybe they are the ones who really know him best after all.

How do you learn from children?

How can we be open to the message God has for us?

In what ways can we approach God as a child?

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The Future – The Present

Let the children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”  Luke 18:16b (NRSV)

This Sunday in both of the churches I serve we will celebrate Children’s Sunday.  What does that mean?  Don’t we celebrate children EVERY Sunday?  Well, yes.  However, this coming Sunday is set aside for them to share with us.  They share what they have learned throughout the school year about the Holy Trinity and their walk of faith.

We have the opportunity to learn about them and their experience of Christ, an experience we have promised to provide at the time of their baptisms.  The church covenants with the parents to help bring the child up in the faith, so we offer Sunday school, support, and a community of faith where the children can learn and be nurtured and grow.

That is what the family (kingdom in the passage above) is all about.  We build each other up, and we send each other forth, not only as adults, but also as children.  I don’t know about you, but I think the children teach me tremendous things about faith.  They can see God in so many ways that somehow our adult eyes just don’t see any more.

So many people say repeatedly that the children are our future.  I agree.  They are.  However, if we see them only as our future, it seems to me that we are thinking of them as the way to keep the church going.  Well, I suppose that’s fairly obvious.

But aren’t the children part of who we are as the family of God RIGHT NOW?  They are more than just a future; they are also part of our present.  As I said earlier, they teach us about God right now, in the present.  I think we do a disservice to them to relegate them to the future when they are so much a part of the NOW.

Let’s train them for the future, but more than that, let’s learn from them.  “Let the children come to me . . .” Jesus said.  He recognized the gifts they had to offer.  He recognized them in the “now.”  He saw them as part of the kingdom of God here on earth – and in the future.

So, Sunday, as our children stand up in front of us, I will listen and learn and applaud – and most of all love them for their willingness to share who they are, Whose they are, and their faith.

How do you learn from the children in your lives?

In what ways can you encourage them and walk with them in their journey of faith?

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