Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Do not hinder them

This weekend my wife and I visited Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Marshall, Michigan.

Zion's bulletin contained this announcement. "If you have little ones we would like them to stay in the service that they too may receive faith through God's Word, no matter how loud they might get. If, however, you must remove your child from the pew, please feel free to use the back or side of the fellowship hall."

Such clarity on children in church should be in every church bulletin.  It's important that churches encourage young parents so they understand that, despite the noise and infant restlessness, they need to be in church together. It's also important that churches encourage other members of the congregation so they understand that, despite the noise and infant restlessness, God's Word is so cherished that nothing should get in the way of hearing it. 

Matthew 19:14, "but Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.'” 

 Amanda Markel wrote an excellent essay on this very topic and she concludes with this thought:  
Helping children to learn how to worship is not always easy–at times it may seem like a never-ending task. But, one Sunday you will realize that your toddler is singing the words to the liturgy, and you will realize that your elementary-school age children are listening to the sermon, and you may even notice that your special-needs child is at his best in church, and you will know what an important and rewarding task it truly is!

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