Thursday, March 1, 2012

Let the children come!

Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’ And he laid his hands on them and went on his way. - Matthew 9:13-15

At the writing of this, my little boy will be 7 weeks and 1 day old.  My wife only missed two Sundays of worship after he was born ... she couldn't wait to get him to church and show him off!  But more than that, she couldn't wait to worship with our son.  Our little man had been worshipping with us for the nine months previous anyway, getting to know our praise team and choir, my voice, the voice of our pastors.  We would marvel at his movement in worship while he was growing inside of my wife.  He couldn't get enough of it it seemed; and we loved getting to know our little boy in this way.

She hasn't missed a Sunday since those two; and her and the little man don't intend to miss any others.  Sure he can get fussy; but it seems more often than not, he can't wait to share his own, "AMEN!"

My wife and I are personally both extremely grateful that our church has been so open to having an infant in worship; the church loves it, and so do we. 

But there seems to be a phenomenon going on lately, where the children are being separated out, and sent to their very own experience.  An experience that is super-high quality for sure, but without their parents. 

Of course, children's church is nothing new ... Most churches who want young families around have some sort of activity for those in the wiggly-preschool stage. But usually kids at least started out in the Sanctuary with their parents before being sent out to a special time just for them.

It seems more often though these days that children of all ages are being separated out in the narthex from their folks, to be reunited after worship.  My question is, why?

Kids can be loud.  Kids can be moody.  Kids can be wiggly.

But kids can also bring brightness.  Kids are less afraid to sing out.  Kids can be fearless in their prayers.

It can be hard to embrace in worship the disruption a child can bring; but isn't it important for a child to see their parents in worship with the body of Christ?

Christ never turned anyone away, and he was called to gather all of God's children together.  He called on us to enter into a relationship with him as children; to be wholly trusting and faithful.  So, maybe the call isn't just for the children to learn from adults, maybe if we make sure they're welcome in worship we can learn something from them as well.