Summary: In blessing of the children we, like Jesus, move toward the world He loves.
Blessing of Children
May 8, 2004
There is a very powerful message for us anytime we are involved in the blessing of a child, or the blessing of children. Let’s see, first of all, the context.
Matt.19.13-15- children were brought, were sent away by the disciples, and the disciples were scolded by Jesus for their actions- all, likely looking out for his well-being, in their minds, at least. But their zeal was misplaced. Then, what happened? Here is what is significant, and is where lies a powerful message for us today.
Jesus moved toward the children. Obviously, something happened in order to enable him to put his hands on the children and bless them. Whether he, physically, moved toward the children is not the point, but he definitely spiritually and emotionally moved toward them. This has been a recurring theme for us the past few weeks, actually. We saw this in the Easter weekend message, if you’ll remember; in the reality of Christ’s decision to ally himself with humanity by actually going to the cross, and following through on what began with his birth as a human, Jesus’ moving toward the world. We saw, if you were here that weekend, the fuller reality of the idea that God loved this world so much that He gave his son- and His son loved the Father so much to be fully obedient, and to identify with us not only in the glorious time of birth, but in the suffering of life, and by entering into the time of non-life, too. He was born, lived (including much suffering, as life has), and died- of course, and resurrected!
Here is another time when Jesus moved toward the world. Think about children. They are not profound and deep, spiritually, really. They are innocent and dependent. They are needy. Jesus moved toward them, in order to bless them.
John 15.16- this is an important reality for us all to understand. Little children don’t choose Jesus, but He chooses them- and, in reality, we don’t choose Him, initially, but He chooses us. In this is a wonderful affirmation of our value and importance and of the desire of God to have us in His family.
For most of us, in our lives, first Jesus chose us, when we weren’t able to do it ourselves. For someone in our church, born and brought in a Blessing of Children ceremony, parents bring the child and, in reality, Jesus is declaring that he is choosing that child. We have scriptures that speak of the blessing on a child because of having one or both believing parents. In other traditions, but equally at a young age, parents bring a child to be baptized. Again, parents are making some measure of declaration of faith, and Jesus is choosing that child; that child enters the sphere of God’s special focus because of having believing parents.
However, in both cases, at some point, the child, hopefully, will make a choice him/herself to choose Jesus. In our church tradition, that occurs through believer’s baptism; in the other tradition, it occurs through confirmation that might occur at First Communion or as a young teenager, as it occurred in my life- normally around twelve years of age.