Glimpses of God's grace as experienced through the eyes of a pilgrim pastor.
Thursday, May 30, 2013
The Blessings of Children
it's just me.
maybe down deep it's the reason all pastors become pastors (besides a call from
God of course).
children. Oh, the children!
children! Their willingness to ask questions about God. Their curiosity. Their
love. Their hands open to receive God's gift of bread and wine. Their laughter
and tears. The children who draw pictures of what God looks like and pictures
of the pastor. The children who know that church is a safe place. The children
who are not afraid to come forward in church and know that they are valued and
while we didn't hear too many children in worship.
we offered silence for prayers, we had silence.
we took time to reflect on our sins, silence.
the sermon was preached, silence.
days we no longer have silence during the prayers or during the sermon. We hear
the laughter and cries of children who are just coming to know their own
voices, who are eager to share with the world. We hear the echo of
"Amens" and "Alleluias!" We hear questions about whether
they can go to the nursery or visit with their friends. We hear about snack
time. We have visitors up and down the aisles. We have children. We have life.
out at the congregation each and every Sunday and I give thanks. I offer God's
words of grace and love and know that the children, too, offer their voices in
worship, offer words of God's grace and love.
see, pastors need children in worship to remind them over and over again that
this worship thing isn't about us. Ever. It's not about me.
about God. It's about the Gospel. The good news of Jesus Christ who lived, died
and rose for us. Each of us. It's about community. All of us. Each and every
one of us. It's about blessing.
One of our spunky
two-year-olds taught me a lesson about blessing. This red-headed two-year-old
comes to the communion table with her hands covering her forehead. She knows
I'm going to give her a blessing so she keeps her hands on her forehead. Each
Sunday, week after week, blessings are given to the children and this
two-year-old, without a doubt, would cry each week upon feeling the blessing.
Slowly, though, the cries have abated, but the hands still come up. But I am
not be deterred - blessing she will receive!
A few weeks ago
her mother sent me an email and shared that even though her daughter refuses the blessing at church she
appears to know its meaning and value since at home she places her hands on her
mother and says, "Bless."
Even at two years
old, even with placing her hands on her forehead to avoid the blessing, each
and every Sunday, even then, she knows the power of a blessing. She knows that
it's not about her. She shows us that ultimately God blesses us despite our
best efforts to keep the blessing away.
We can't get away
from God's blessings. We can't miss the blessings of God. They are all around
us - from the youngest to the oldest and everyone in between. So next time you
hear the delighted sound of a child, remember how blessed we are to be in
community. Together. Blessed.