Let The Children Come To Me
And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
I have a saying about children in the worship service. It goes like this:
“There’s only one thing worse than noisy children in the church –
no noisy children in the church”
My point is there is great joy in having noisy children in the church. It is the sign of a healthy congregation.
Let me give you an example.
There is a family who attends worship at Peace Lutheran Church on a regular basis. The children sometimes bring in a coloring book and crayons to occupy themselves during the worship.
Every Sunday we share the “Peace of the Lord” with one another. This involves people greeting one another with a handshake, a hug or a fist pump. These children walk among the congregation and greet others with a handshake or a fist pump.
What I find very joyful is the singing of songs. At Peace Lutheran, I place the songs in the worship bulletin. One of the children is under two years old. The child watches the parents and others looking at the bulletin and singing. So, the child holds a bulletin and sings along with the rest of the congregation. Sometimes the child’s bulletin is upside down. Sometimes the bulletin is on a different page. However, that child knows everyone else is singing so that child is also going to sing.
In the time of Jesus, many people believed the old phrase, “Children were meant to be seen and not hears”. Others believed children were not welcome to heaven until they reached a certain age.
As Jesus did with so many stereotypes, he stepped across boundaries and welcomed people beyond those boundaries, including children.I go to restaurants, shopping centers, and other places and see ‘noisy children’. I see the parents apologizing and others looking with that disapproving eye.
Please, next time you see a parent struggling with a child’s behavior, remember Jesus’ words,
“Let the children come to me;
do not hinder them,
for to such belongs the kingdom of God.”
Peace Lutheran Church
Mill Valley, California