Reflection for CFC’s Children’s Sunday, June 14, 2020, (Mark 10:13-16)

Friends, historically I don’t preach on Children’s Sunday.  So here’s a brief reflection on Mark 10:13-16 because this is one of my favorite stories about Jesus.  People bring children to Jesus in order that he might bless them.  The disciples scold them.  It seems that the disciples felt that someone as important as Jesus shouldn’t be bothered with these kids.  However when Jesus saw what the disciples were doing, he grew angry.  Think about it, there are instances in scripture where Jesus gets angry.  Not that many, but some.  And this is one of them.  Mark tells us that Jesus is angry at the disciples and says, “Allow the children to come to me.  Don’t forbid them, because God’s kingdom belongs to people like these children.”[1]  Jesus hugs the children and blesses them.

Children and youth are a blessing in churches.  And churches can celebrate their presence.  Sometimes I’ve had mortified parents talk to me after worship if their child happened to be a little fussy that Sunday.  (Maybe this time where we’re apart during this pandemic has made all of us realize the gift of worshiping together in person, fussy children and all!)  My response to those embarrassed parents is usually something along the lines of this—the sound of a dead or dying church is often sheer silence in worship.  The sound of a church that’s alive and will be around in the future is often the sound of children.  It’s the sounds of the next generation of Christians being in a sanctuary—learning and growing and experiencing how a faith community worships God.  Children and youth are a valued part of our church family here and now, not just part of the Church of the future.

Don’t just take my word for it though—it’s Jesus who basically said that!  Remember that the disciples tried to hush those kids.  The disciples tried to shame those parents.  And it was Jesus who got mad about that.  It was Jesus who said, “Allow the children to come to me.  Don’t forbid them, because God’s kingdom belongs to people like these children.”  Jesus took those children up in his arms, hugged them, and blessed them.  In so doing, he honored the presence of children for all time.  What a gift.  Thanks be to God.  Amen.    

[1] Mark 10:14, Common English Bible.