Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Children in the Fellowship of the Church
Rev George Cherian
15 People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them;
Our children are God’s precious gifts to us. A child born in a Christian home is God’s gift to the parents and to the church. Home is the place where our kids are to be formed spiritually. Church is where they learn to relate with the members of the believing community and learn from each other to build and be built. From Lk 18.15-17, we see our responsibilities in helping our kids become a part of the community in fellowship.
Bring each child to Jesus: This should be the foremost priority of every parent. Introducing and orienting our children in the faith and in the fellowship is also part of the believing community’s responsibility. In Lk 18.15 we see that the parents brought their kids to Jesus with the earnest desire to let the kids experience for themselves who Jesus is and be blessed by Him. Parents need to introduce their kids to Jesus at a very young age itself. Also, they need to be brought regularly to church. This will help them to see and experience Christ for themselves through the worship, the Word of God, the Sunday school and the fellowship of the believers. Associating and growing in the faith and with the faith community is essential for their holistic growth.
Joseph Mar Barnabas Thirumeni once told mothers with infants and kids, "During the Holy communion service, leave all your babies and kids in the aisle in the sanctuary. Allow them to grow listening to the beautiful chants, the word of God and the prayers offered to God. Let them smell the fragrance that emanates from the censer. Even if they are a bit cranky and naughty leave them in the aisle. That is where they ought to be- the center of the church. A child who has grown and worshipped this way will love God, His body the church and will uphold the faith that has been passed on to him.”
Build each child in the faith: The disciples rebuked them (vs.15). The disciples, the called out ones, were expected to be instruments in calling the parents and the kids to have a fellowship with Jesus. But they forgot the purpose of their calling and turned out to be obstacles. Instead of helping the kids grow close to the master and be in the fellowship of the community, they were trying to keep them away. This may be because they felt the kids were insignificant or maybe because it was a waste of time. Each child in our parish represents God’s love. Welcoming each child and giving them a space to grow, to experience and use their spiritual gifts should be the goal of the called out community. Our attitude, words and deeds play a pivotal role in molding the next generation. If we don’t become Christ-like examples to our kids, we may become obstacles in their faith formation. Christ warned his disciples against not welcoming the little ones and becoming a stumbling block to them. (Mt 18.5-6)
Jesus makes children a metaphor for faith. He knew that they were adults in the making and they could be models of faith for adults. And that is why he likened the Kingdom of God to a little child (vs.17).
Just as there can be no Kingdom of God without kids let us make our parish a place where kids can grow and be led to Christ.
Thank you, Lord, for your precious gifts, our children. Strengthen us to love them, understand them and build them up so that they find joy and happiness in the fellowship of your community. Amen
THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:
We are partners with God in building up our kids.