Sunday, May 3, 2009

Helping Children Hear

Our church here in Cokato has the tradition of inviting children forward during worship to hear a message especially for them. These "children's sermons" help young people feel like they are wanted and needed at church. At least, that's our hope. Sometimes I wonder if they are more aimed at letting the adults know we care for their kids. After all, how much can we teach in 2-3 minutes while being watched by all those adults?

The most important way we help children know the Lord is the love and forgiveness they experience in every day life when that love comes from Christian parents and other adults who are not shy about their faith. We can say all we want to about the love of God through Jesus Christ, but if our kids don't experience it in our homes, they won't believe it's really true. And it won't work to share tender loving care without speaking about the Lord. Teaching Jesus' love takes both actions and words.

In John 10:27, Jesus says those who belong to him "know his voice." We get to know Jesus' voice as it comes to us through loving, forgiving people who patiently walk along side us through the ups and downs of life. We can help that at church, but the larger responsibility belongs to parents, grandparents and other Christian adults who walk with the young and vulnerable among us, caring, protecting and speaking with them about the Lord. When that happens, children, and all of us, can rest and work and play and laugh--secure in the knowledge of God's great love.

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