Summary: This sermon was used on Mother’s day for the Blessing/Dedication of Children. It discusses Parents duty to Children based on Mark 10:13-16.
Today is a very significant day in which we recognize and celebrate the nurturing, sustaining and unselfish love of Mothers. There is an old Jewish proverb that says "God couldn’t be everywhere so he made Mothers". There are probably a few mothers who consider this a great honour, however, they probably wish He had given a few lessons first.
I know that a great deal could be said this morning about the virtues of Motherhood, however, I think I will leave any expression of gratitude to all of us who are sons and daughters and trust that we will all take the opportunity to share our gratefulness personally, if we are able.
For those of us of this congregation and for our visitors, today is also significant in that we will share in a very special service of the blessing of children. For this reason I want to focus my remarks around the significance of this sacrament and what it means to raise our children
in an environment where God is revered and Christ is at the centre of all we do and say.
The blessing of children is one of the most beautiful sacraments of the Community of Christ. This practice is not something that has no basis but in fact comes from a very distinct historical and scriptural background.
The first account mentioned in the scriptures is that of Jacob being blessed by his father Isaac. Through deception Jacob acquired the blessing which belonged by birthright to his older brother Esau. But the blessing was believed to possess so much power and truth that once given , even to the wrong person, it could not be taken away or changed.
In the New Testament we find a very moving story concerning the relationship of Jesus to the children of his time.
Mark describes that Christ had left Capernaum and went southward to the Judean border. And as always there were crowds milling about him and as always Jesus took the time to talk with them and teach them.
“And the mothers brought their little children to Him , that he should touch them and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. but when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God . Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them." Mark 10:13-16
Thus through the simple act of laying his hands upon their head and offering words of blessing we see the intervention of the divine through the loving caring nature of God in Jesus Christ. We can only speculate as to the blessing received by these children, nevertheless, we are assured that God is concerned for them far more than you or and I as parents can ever be.
The blessing of children is not only a very beautiful event but also very meaningful. In the process of blessing a child everyone involved is also blessed.
The child is blessed by the commitment of all to be responsible for this life.
The parents are blessed by the promise of others to provide them with help and guidance in the coming years.
The congregation is blessed by the revitalization which occurs when a young child representing new creation and growth is brought into its midst.
God is also blessed in this service as each person praises and gives thanks for this gift of new life which renews and strengthens us to make this a better world
When parents bring their child before God and the church they are extending their commitment that they made at the wedding alter. They are expressing their faith in God and the church that he will continue to bless their family and strengthen them for the responsibilities that lay ahead.
To (child’s parents), I would counsel you to nurture your children in the ways of God. Teach them at an early age to conduct themselves properly. It is said that children today are taught everything from computer programming to ballet. But they are not taught values. It is also said that we work on building bodies and minds but we do not build character in our children .
It is important to regard your children as a precious gift from God. Too often today children take second or even third place to mother and Dad’s various personal pursuits. The result is unhappiness and despair, drug abuse and teen suicide, family violence and juvenile delinquency.
As parents we need to take back responsibility for our children. It will take sacrifice of personal time, but what better use of time could there be. The childlike qualities Jesus talked about won’t be in our children unless we exemplify them ourselves and spend the time necessary to pass our values on to our children.