"I want churrrrch!!” he cried as we left the church building one day.
He didn’t mean the building though, he meant the people, the body of believers, the community. When I look at how my child is received by the body of believers we call our church, I am so very thankful. It wasn’t always that way for me growing up, there were some who were incredible to us and others who pushed us to the side and treated us as unimportant or as a nuisance, who rather than listening and encouraging us as we grew in knowledge and talents, put us down or dismissed us. I see our church becoming the church to my children.
Sharing, caring, loving, praying for one another, serving, growing with and encouraging one another in Christ.
He was sick a few weeks ago. I held him in the nursery at church while waiting for his daddy to come pick him up because we had an event going on that I needed to be at. As we were sitting there, a church member passed by and stopped to chat for a second. We mentioned Riko wasn’t feeling well, Zinho wasn’t either for that matter. Riko looked at the church member and said “would you pray for me?” O my heart! The church member said yes, and asked if he could pray right then? Such a beautiful moment. (I might have cried a little) It brought to mind this time he cried “I want churrrrch!”
This is a child who knows he has a God who loves and cares for him and can help him when he’s sick. He knows where to turn for help, never shy to ask for prayer. A child who knows he’s loved and cared for in His church, a community willing to take the prayer requests of a child seriously. My son is learning he has others to lean on and love him, not just mommy and daddy. This connection between this church member who took a minute out of his time and my son is unbroken now, in fact Riko joined him for a donut one Sunday morning with no inhibitions. It’s connecting moments like these that will keep our kids in church. They aren’t a nuisance they are a blessing, little worshippers ready to connect to God and others who just have WAY more energy than we do. I want churrrrrch for every child! I want them to have a community that will take Jesus’ words seriously when he said “let the little children come to me…”
What this church member doesn’t know is the next day Riko began to feel better. As he cleared his throat in the morning he said, “is God taking all the gunk away mommy?” (Now there’s another devo in itself right...?) He sure is honey, He sure is! “I think it’s cause ‘he' prayed for me.”
The next time you see one of our littlest worshippers, don’t count them out. Some of them have deeper questions about their faith than you, some of them have a belief stronger than you, that God can do anything. Some of them may grow up to be your pastor or your child’s pastor and they sure can serve Christ with more gusto and guts than you or I! They aren’t the future, they are the church! Let’s encourage and equip, pray for and teach. Pentecost Sunday is over, church, let’s be the church to young and to younger!
"Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord" James 5:14
"But Jesus called the children to him and said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these". Luke 18:16