Summary: Why do we take our children to church and what do they see when they get there?
How Do Our Children Interpret Our Faith?
On November 11, 2003 I had the esteemed privilege of addressing our community in the presence of hundreds of our residence. It isn’t very often that we can make a statement to so may in our community and be uninterrupted having such a captive audience. To date, I think that Remembrance Day 2003 is on the highlights of my community engagements. What an utter joy and honour to gently challenge our community on behalf of children and youth and at the same time have the opportunity to tell hundreds of teens and children that Jesus Love Them and that they are of supreme value. My articulated and flowery words would have been null and void without sincerity. Words are the emptiest venue of communication if there is no action behind them.
Children are famous for ignoring what adults say, but they don’t ignore what adults do and they don’t mind being bluntly honest.
A Sunday School teacher was telling her class the story of the Good Samaritan, in which a man was beaten, robbed and left for dead. She described the situation in vivid details so her students would catch the drama. Then she asked the class, “If you saw a person lying on the roadside all wounded and bleeding, what would you do?” A thoughtful little girl broke the hushed silence, “I think I would throw up.”
Let’s examine the scripture lesson this morning with such honesty and we would respond appropriately.
Examination of Mark 10:13-16
There are four (4) groups of people:
1. The parents (probably the Mothers)
• They have heard of Jesus’ ministry
• Some had possibly seen how Jesus had touched people and healed them and removed their pain.
• It is possible that these parents had brought their children to Jesus to heal them
• Perhaps they thought that if Jesus would touched them their children would experience a transference of power and become like him
• Perhaps they simply saw how good and kind he was and wanted to place a role model before their children.
• The parents would have been aware of Jesus’ lack of popularity with the scribes, Pharisees, Priests and religious rulers but there was definitely saw something special in Jesus that they wanted their children to experience.
There is a story of a High Born East Indian man born into a high cast who had become a Christian. His family had disowned him and the door of the family had been shut on him. Occasionally he would sneak back home and secretly visit his mother. During one of these visits she recounted how while carrying her son, she had been regularly visited by a missionary. The missionary had given her a copy of one of the gospels. She had read the gospel and although she had no desire to become a Christian she did long that this unborn child would grow up to be like Jesus.
Could there have been something about Jesus that made these mothers yearn for their children to be in his presence? in order that they might be like him?
The Second Group of People: The Disciples
• There is an old hymn that goes “The stern disciples drove them back and bade them depart”.
• All I can envision is a bunch of grumpy old men who thought that children should be seen and not heard.
• -- We are judging the disciples based upon an action. We have them all painted as the mean people in the story – not necessarily based on the truth.
o Jesus was very busy man, in high demand.
o He was constantly surrounded by people
o Somebody always wanted something from him – few people wanted to put back into Jesus’ life.
• In all fairness to the disciples, it is possible that they were protecting Jesus and that the motive behind their action was driven by love and compassion for their Master.
• Our motives aren’t as often to be questioned as the way that we verbalize our responses.
• What we say and what we mean and what we do don’t always line up, but they could if we took to think before we say and before we do.
Then There is Jesus
• Even the most hard-heart is softened by a child or by the kindness shown to a child. In this story we see the tenderness of Jesus.
o He didn’t even scold the disciples; he simply invited the children to come. His invitation taught a lesson to the disciples, the parents and hopefully us :
In order to have real faith we need to become as Children pure and accepting.
• We will worry about things and a child will say “It’ll be ok because I asked God to help us”.