Most parents can identify with this… There is always some context in which your children seem unwelcome. Where their noise is too loud for the concert.1 Where they won’t understand what is happening. Where the shop is too scary at Halloween time. Where they will be too messy for dinner. Our government thinks that Parents need to be taught that children cost money.2 The persecution of the young is never more clear than in a world at war. The young are indiscriminately blown up, used, abused and enlisted to fight for causes that only harm them.3
And churches do it too… We have to acknowledge that churches have not always been accessible, welcoming or safe for children.
Again as a parent we feel hurt by the rejection of our children and excluded ourselves as we belong with them, in a world where they belong. We fail to understand why our children should be excluded and a cause of exclusion when they are precious wonderful bundles of love. They are incredible little learner people on the same journey through life. They have much too learn but also much to teach. They are a blessing and we are blessed when we receive them with Joy.
15 One day some parents brought their little children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But when the disciples saw this, they scolded the parents for bothering him. 16 Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” – Luke 18:15-17 NLT
Jesus calls us to look at the children differently. To look in the mirror and remember that we were once children too. That we still are children. Children of our heavenly Father. Jesus explained how he wanted to be remembered at the last supper. A meal which was and still is traditionally a family meal.
We hope to be a church where children are welcomed and included. Where children are safe and can have fun. Where they are baptized and can receive communion. Where they are listened to and their opinion is respected. Where they can learn but where we can learn from them. Where parents feel welcome too. Where everyone can discover what it means to be a beloved child of God.
Image by Nisha A used under Creative Commons License.