This past Sunday, during the Peace of Christ, a little friend made his way to the front of the church and came up to the platform whereupon I hugged him and told him I had missed him. He’d been away visiting grandparents for the better part of the summer. He then asked if he could sit with me. I said yes, but once I preach, you’ll have to go back and sit with your mom. He returned to explain this to his mother but remained in his pew. I’m a parent–I’m not sure I’d agree to let my five year old go sit with the preacher until the preacher let me know it was okay.
That made my day though and I’m now thinking, why not allow children to come up and sit with me during the service? If they memorize a verse of scripture, I’d be happy to give them the opportunity to recite it. It would not be the first time a child has sat with me on the platform. We have a young person who is now a grown adult who, when her grandmother sang in the choir, wanted to be near her. She sat with me.
Sunday also saw the appearance of some beautiful children I had not seen in probably a year. They had grown of course and they had to endure my comment after church (a comment I endured and every child has endured from gawking relatives), “You have grown so much!” and “I hardly recognized you.” Those comments were received in silence much like I received them when I was a boy and heard my grandmother say such things to me. How is a child to respond? Children grow.
School is in all around the country. Children are returning to school. And parents and guardians and uncles and aunts and grandparents are all praying and hoping for good years for their children. But look, around the globe, children are suffering enormously from wars and hunger. And if you have read Malala’s book, I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education And Was Shot By The Taliban, then you know too that girls are particularly the object of violence and denied basic human rights all across the world. When you see a child in your midst, perceive them as an angel of light in your midst. Bless them. Do your best by them. Their smiles and love in response are worth far more than anything you could ever gain in this world. Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Do not stop them! For the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”
God bless and preserve the children of the world and the child in you. See you Sunday~