“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.’”
Few pieces of scripture are used more to support children in worship and in the life of the church. Jesus, in other areas of the gospel, tells us to nurture and never lose our childlike faith. This passage has always been one of my favorites from my youth. The welcome and belonging that it gives me can still be felt. The innocence, the inclusion, the sense of home in Jesus that is there all the time, is driven home even more by these words of welcome.
But what does that welcome and belonging look like in our church?
One Sunday in January two of my kids (one was an acolyte) went to 10:30 worship by themselves. They sat down in a pew up front and began the service the way they both had done for years, this time however the youngest, five years old, sat with their older sibling since my parents were away with my other two. The acolyte did their duty which included communion assistance. This left the five-year-old to navigate one of the most anxious parts of the service, the logistics of communion. For those who have been to other congregations in your lifetime, you know the feeling and the questions. How does this congregation do communion? Intinction, common cup, pouring chalice, or something else? Do I kneel or stand? Do I leave the pew going left or right? How do I get back to my pew? Yet this five-year-old took communion like she had been doing it all her life.
I don’t say this as a brag, in fact I rarely sit with my children in worship since I work on Sunday mornings. Instead, I say all of this to show us three things. First, our young people are watching, they see what we do, and they do that too, so pay attention to what you do. Second, other than faith, comfort and belonging are perhaps the most important things we can gift to each other. Lastly, what we do in our routine each day, week, month, or year, matters more than we know. So, what are you going to do today that helps another grow in faith or feel comfortable enough to have the courage to walk to Jesus, to communion like this five-year-old?
The people of Grace share their favorite bible stories for the 2023 Lenten Devotional: I Love to Tell the Story. Each day's devotional will be automatically posted so come back daily after 7 am for a new reflection.