Sunday, October 09, 2011

Precious moments

This morning in church I sat right in front of 4 year old Abel and his dad.  I often sit in front of Abel and his family or across the aisle from them.  Today when it was time for the morning offering to be received, Abel decided that he was going to help his dad collect the offering (Abel's dad is a deacon).  Without missing more than a beat or two, Abel's dad handed him an offering plate and the two of them collected the offering together.  Abel was so proud as he passed the plate down the rows of people, and the look on his face as he walked down the center aisle with his dad and the other deacon to present the offering filled my heart with joy.  I got a high five from him as he went back to his seat.

Last week Friday I celebrated communion with 4 year old Miriam snuggled on my lap.  As the communion liturgy was read/recited she nearly quivered with excitement.  As I took the wafer and dipped it in the grape juice, she took a wafer and dipped it in the grape juice.  She knew that Jesus had died for her sins too.  Because she had been raised in a church (they had no Sunday School), she knew what communion was and she knew that this was part of her faith life.  When we were finished, she twisted around on my lap and smiled up at me. We shared that sacred moment together.

Children are not the future of our church. They are the church. They are the church now.  They will not become the church.  They are the church.

When will we realize this and stop sending them off to Sunday is the basement while we have church?  Why do we pretend to ourselves that once they are older they will want a part in the very church sent them off to their own space, their own classroom the entire time they were growing up?

Children can participate in "big church".  Abel collected offering this morning.  Children can greet people and hand out bulletins.  They can pass out cookies after church.  They can sing the songs and learn the readings and liturgy that we use week after week.

Children are the church now. Today.  In this time.

These are precious moments that we can't afford to miss.  If we miss these moments, then the church WILL die.  There is no doubt about that.

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