Last night, Dan had the privilege of performing a special ceremony for friends. As we sat around afterwards, chatting, the mother of these two precious ones apologized that they were a bit rambunctious throughout the whole thing.
I was reminded of the verses in Luke.
Luke 18:15-7 ~ People brought babies to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. When the disciples saw it, they shooed them off. Jesus called them back. “Let these children alone. Don’t get between them and me. These children are the kingdom’s pride and joy. Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”
Picture with me if you will a hillside scene. Jesus is sitting and teaching the crowds. Families are there with a picnic lunch and listening intently. Can you picture the children sitting mesmerized for hours? I don't what children you know, but most that I know were probably running around and chasing each other.
They were running, shouting and playing. More than one probably toddled up to Jesus and climbed on him. I love that picture!
However, in many churches across America, the children are shushed, shooed away, and sent to a separate room so they don't disturb anyone. The "good" ones are tolerated. The "noisy" ones are labeled and viewed as an annoyance.
And yet, Jesus viewed children as a blessing. As little people to be embraced. As an example of how we should be!
I'm not saying to let children run around and scream throughout the church service. They need to be trained how to behave. There are people who come to hear from God's word. There are seniors who struggle to hear in the best of times. But children should be welcomed and I think they don't necessarily have to be shoved off to the nursery. We should rally around parents of these little ones and help them out. Through patient training children can be taught how to handle themselves in these situations.
But we need to do it in a way that doesn't make the parents feel unwelcome. We need to do it with love. We need to also not expect perfection! We should do it out of relationship. I'm not suggesting correcting total strangers' children. That is going to cause some major problems. lol
And I do think we need to do a better job of including children in our worship services. I think we did a good job of that at our current church which is why our teens still love coming to church.
We allowed them to do small things in the service when they were younger and then added to that as they matured. We always made sure they knew they were welcome. We went out of our way to speak with them every single week.
My two little friends from last night are busy guys. They love to be active. They have a hard time sitting still. But they are learning. For some, it takes longer, but I hope they and their parents know how much they are loved and accepted!
Please don't be one of those adults who treat children like pests and say, "Shoo, fly, shoo!"