Saturday, April 2, 2016

Distracting Children in Worship!?

Kids need people who love them -
This is one of our surrogate Aunties.
Children! Oh we love them, but they can be SO distracting! And so messy! Especially when we are trying to have a quiet moment soaking up God's word, or during the prayers in church. Or worse still children fighting with each other in church! And the messes they leave behind! Little sultanas in places that are just so hard to vacuum. Why can't those mothers just control them? 

Kids love to get involved.
Well you know, I know that it's just not possible. I'm not saying that we should have children running around the church and playing races in the aisle, but I am saying that sometimes this needs to be overlooked for their benefit. Even my darlings fight in church...apparently even on Good Friday! So what are we to do with them? Should I take my children out of church at the slightest infraction so that no one else is further distracted by them? What is this teaching them? Unless they are perfectly behaved the church wants nothing to do with them! Whoops...not quite biblical!!

Jesus too had a problem with distracting, noisy children. And like us, the disciples had enough. They told those children where to go. Jesus was angry with his disciples for doing this. Angry. The bible uses the word "indignant" which means to show or feel anger at unfair treatment. Jesus told his disciples: "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for such is the kingdom of heaven."

In Matthew 18: 3-6 Jesus says:

Being a part of God's family should be a joy.
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."

Jesus takes the business of the distraction of children pretty seriously. Children have always been messy, unmannered and noisy...but Jesus still commands us to welcome them...just as they are. You know why? Because children know they are dependent on us adults...but we adults forget what it's like to totally dependent, and we need the constant reminder of children that we are to be like this with our heavenly father...totally dependant on him, on Jesus grace, on his forgiveness.

Good Friday Kids Talk
Good Friday wasn't all about Jesus. When he walked the Via Delarosa he wasn't the main attraction. He was just another criminal, just another crucifixion. This was a common place thing. Jesus was getting in the way of the religious people having their special religious festival of the Passover...so people were still trying to get about doing their Passover shopping, tipping the local beggar, making sure they had their last preparations done, and worrying about the Roman soldiers on every other corner.

It's still like this if you walk the Via Delarosa today, except the Roman soldiers have been replaced with Israeli ones with AK47s. Jesus death was messy, noisy and just another distraction. 

Don’t try to over spiritualise...be realistic. Jesus died...so what? For what? For those children making a noise a the back of church. For that baby who won't stop whinging. Jesus died for them! Praise God for his death and resurrection that sets us free from our religious accusations.

Okay, so they are not "all mine"...three families, 6 each.
2 pastors and 1 future pastor. Pray for us.
Please pray for all our children in church.  It's not easy parenting in a world that sees children as little people who should be seen and not heard. We in the church need to be different. Please pray for the parents. Engaging the children in happy conversation before and after worship time builds relationship and trust and then the ability to offer help. We need all the help we can get in bringing our children to faith in Jesus.