Reflection on Matthew 18:1-7 by our Assistant Program Director, Angie Smith.
How many times have you heard someone complain because there are children making noise in church? It seems to be a common complaint across denominations. It’s a fact of life that kids are noisy. I was a loud kid- shocking right? I almost didn’t make it out of kindergarten because I couldn’t sit still or be quiet. Not much has changed in 24 years. I haven’t gotten better about being quiet in church and sitting still.
We all know little kids aren’t so good at sitting still and being quiet. And that’s good. They should be making noise and moving around. I love it when our kids ask questions because they aren’t afraid to ask the tough questions. Kids aren’t afraid to ask “why” and “how.” I would be slacking if I didn’t give a shout out to our wonderful Sunday School Teachers and Fishbowl Volunteers that listen to our kids and answer their questions.
Jesus has a lot to say about how our faith as adults is directly related to how we treat the children that we are responsible for teaching.Elisabeth Johnson writes, “Jesus uses hyperbole to make a dramatic point. Not only is it necessary to become a ‘little one’ to enter the kingdom of heaven, but there is a dire warning for any who would lead ‘little ones’ astray. Throughout Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus places a special burden on those who would be leaders in the community. Woe to those who, instead of embracing little ones, cause them to stumble or lose their faith!”
We have this command/warning from Jesus to take care of the children in our communities of faith. I know it’s hard because we aren’t gathering weekly, but we are still called to cultivate an environment in which our children flourish and in which we in turn flourish. This would be a great time to send a child in your life a story bible or some other religious book (if you need ideas please email me). I’d also like to remind our families that a new week in the children’s Lenten Devotional starts this week. There are links on our website for children’s activities. Social distancing has changed the “how” of how we do things, but not the “why” of why we do things.
Let us pray: Almighty God, with a mother’s love and a father’s care you have blessed us with the joy and responsibility of children. As we bring them up, give us gracious love, calm strength, and patient wisdom, that we may teach the, to love whatever is just and true and good, following the example of Jesus Christ, our savior. Amen. (ELW, pg 82)