During this pandemic, children everywhere have had their part to play in these difficult and challenging times. Like the rest of us, their world and lives have changed.
As a Primary School Teacher I have the privilege of working with children and I am often inspired by their sense of awe and wonder and passion for life. They are impulsive, enthusiastic and often like sponges- soaking up and absorbing all sorts of ideas and ways of doing different things.
Children are also mentioned in the Bible by Jesus as an example of how we might be:-
But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and told them, “ Let the little children come to Me, and do not hinder them ! For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. And He took the children in His arms, placed His hands on them, and blessed them….’ - Mark 10v 14-16
“Truly I tell you, “He said, “ unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” - Matthew 18v3
So, what is this child like growing, changing and learning that Jesus might be referring to here. Some ideas, thoughts and questions for us all to reflect on (and that definitely includes the person writing this!).
The Kingdom of God is like a gift because of God’s love for us. When children receive a gift, they generally accept it and want to enjoy it and are excited by it. Do we always accept and enjoy the love God gives to us?
Children have utter dependence on those around them. Christ is calling us to have utter dependence on him as a way to his kingdom. Do we always have utter dependence on God?
Children are born with a love for learning and exploring and in the early years, this is often through play. Do we hold a passion for learning about the kingdom of God that makes us want to learn more?
Children often approach learning with open hearts and minds, wanting to learn and because of this their behaviour and way of being is changed. How open are we to come before Jesus with humility and let the love and teaching of Jesus change our behaviour and ways so that we may become more like him?
I have always found it rather frightening to hear these words uttered from the mouths of parents :-
‘I always know what happened in class today Mrs Emison as it is always role played at home.’
‘I don’t know where they got the word wowzers from, we certainly don’t use it!’
To some extent children (and adults) reflect and absorb the mannerisms and character of people they watch, observe and study. No wonder we have the phrase ‘a chip off the old block’ and we are told ‘you sound just like your mother!’ and I end up asking myself, do I always reflect the image of God?
A prayer for ourselves:-
Teach me to
and learn from you
so that all of your children may know your love and care for them.
A prayer for our children:-
Let us pray for children who have been separated from loved ones for long periods of time due to their carers/ parents being key workers.
For those children and families who are struggling financially due to job losses and the cost of living and having to reluctantly resort to food banks
For children who haven’t been able to see grandparents before they die and those missing family members.
For children living in countries where their basic needs of shelter, food, clothing, medical care and protection from harm were already threatened even before this crisis began.
Hold them all in your love.
This is another (!) favourite song of mine that speaks of being a child of God and being set free by his grace.
Lastly, to turn this all around, I have always loved the image of God’s love being like the persuasive (and sometimes annoying !) tug of a toddler’s hand. A hand that gently pulls and guides us to play, dance, watch and learn.
The reflections here are written by members of our congregation.