Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Our little neighbours

A Sunday school teacher asked the children just before she dismissed them to go to church, "And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?"Little Johnny replied, "Because people are sleeping." Often in our church there is the sound of kids talking when they "shouldn't be" and babys wailing, and in the last few months God has given me enough grace to love it, I love its irreverance to human plans and neatness, and whenever I see a kid running down the aisle of the church when the "shouldn't" be I always think the Kingdom of God belongs to them. When I see people looking aggravated at some kid across the church saying with their eyes "Get that Kid outta here coz the important things are happening now" I think, Jesus would be welcoming them right now, pleased that they were even there. We often choose for things to annoy us more than they need to, so when a child makes a noise that "should know better", in our minds we attach it to every other time kid's have done that and make a huge deal about it, instead of holding our pristine order lightly, and enjoying the ups, downs and realities of the family life of church. Im not making a case for out and out chaos contrary to 1 Corinthians 14:33For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. BUT....I think Paul here is talking about a service a good deal more chaotic than most of the meetings of the people of God that I have ever attended. We are fustrated mostly by children, because they are not adults, but never seemingly fustrated at adults because they won't be like children: Matthew 18:2-5 2He called a little child and had him stand among them. 3And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. Adults can engage themselves in long attention span activities like 40mins of music, and 40mins of preaching, but this is different for children. Needless to say when Jesus spoke, Children were attracted to him. We can only speculate why this was but I would say it was for two reasons: 1) The way in which Jesus spoke, story told etc 2) His spiritual prescence which transcended generational boundries. This would maybe give us an insight into how to engage children in our church services? There is something missing in Church's in relation to ministry to children, it seems lip service is paid to teaching children in childrens church etc, when the prevalent attitude is how to get them out of the way of the real business of church assemblies. I love children....one at a time, but I admit I struggle with great hordes of them, It is a mission field/oppurtunity which is outside of my comfort zone, it is not having a intellectual, theological exegesis with cognitive, educated individuals. It is the essence of the gospel that is required, to LOVE our neighbour as ourselves, even, well in fact especially the little neighbours. Matthew 22:36-40 36"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" 37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." God, give me more of a heart to love children BECAUSE there is nothing in it for me.


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