For the Sake of our Children
Submitted by Jennifer Power
“Children aspire to construct a world where despite pain and danger things turn our right after all. This hope for a world more real than the world they live in creates in the human heart a readiness to hear the Good News. The child wants…what adults want: a deathless world where stories are what Tolkien calls ‘eucatastrophes’ – stories with happy endings. The gospel is…the ultimate ‘eucatastrophe,’ the final fulfillment of all human fantasies about a world where things turn out right.” (Mary Collins in The Sacred Play of Children, discussing a work of Nathan Mitchell)
Is it possible we are presenting a message of false hope to our children in the way we present the Gospel narrative? Do we remove the power of the Gospel by denying the painful reality of children’s existence? Do we teach them stories, give them rules, and expect them to be faithful without the transforming power of God’s Holy Spirit at work within them and within us? Do we present the Gospel to children as nothing more than an abstract hope for the future and a set of rules to follow?
Lately, I have been hearing more and more statements like these listed below:
“Jesus died so we can go to heaven when we die.”
“Because we are Christians, we should be good and kind so other people will want to be Christians too.”
“Read them the Bible, say prayers with them, take them to church, and discipline them when they misbehave; this is how you raise Godly children.”
“I raised them in the church, so I do not understand why they don’t go anymore.”
“Just teach them the Bible stories – that is what kids really need from Sunday School.”
Over the next few weeks, I will explore and discuss some of these questions and statements. It is my hope that in doing so we will discover a deeper understanding of what our children need in order to be the disciples Jesus calls them to be. How can we be better disciple-makers for the sake of our children? This is the question I hope to begin to answer through the next several blog posts.
It is my heart’s cry that my children be deeply rooted and grounded in the love of Christ – that this may not be just a nice idea but a very present reality. It is not only possible, but it is God’s desire for His children. Let us therefore align our wills to His in asking Him to do a work within us so we will be better equipped to train up our children to have but one desire in this life:
More of God.
May God bless our homes as we seek Him with all our hearts.
Jennifer Power is the Director of Children’s Ministry at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. If you’d like to connect with Jennifer you can contact her through the Church Office at 217-423-6955 or email her at email@example.com