I’ve felt truly blessed this week by the children taking part in different events going on in St Michael’s church. Last Sunday members of our Guides, Brownies and Rainbows told us about some of the amazing projects they’ve been involved in over this last year including trying to raise awareness on climate change and caring for people in the community. Our own Young Church told us about some of the things they’ve enjoyed in church this last year and they helped me lead the Eucharistic Prayer at the Altar when we came to sharing Communion in the service. We’ve had some really lovely baptism services recently – last Sunday’s not being untypical with three babies who were very smiley in the lead up to their Christening – this prompted a smile on the face of everyone in church. The reading we often use in infant baptism services is from Mark’s Gospel chapter 10 verses 13 to 16 where Jesus says: ‘…let the little children come to me… the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.’ The reading has felt very apt indeed in recent Christenings!
In the week, we had local Year 6 children visiting us for a Leaver’s Service as the end their time at primary school and prepare for their move to secondary school. In the service, we had a number of different ‘stations’ around church which they visited and used for reflections & prayer. At one of these they thought about people who had been a great support to them at primary school and they made a little pipe-cleaner person to represent them and give thanks for that person. At another station, they thought about things that may be worrying them about their move of schools and they wrote these on hand-shaped cards and ‘handed them over’ to God knowing how much he cares for them. At the final station, the children made little a Lego model to model to represent themselves and they placed these onto our Altar (for many people the most Holy place in church) to acknowledge how precious they are to God. There were some really amazing and creative ‘prayers’ from the children in these stations – a child who made a model of himself as a bridge because of the way he helps people, a girl who made a paint pallet and paint brush because of the way she helps bring colour to situations. I was really moved by some of the profound insights that the children made at the service.
I think often we can consider the words of Jesus to ‘let the children come to me’ as being about the role we have to take to help children learn about Christ. I was struck (as I often am when working with children and young people) by how much we learn from children when we stop and listen to the insights they bring when we ask them about their understanding of God. I wonder if sometimes as adults our preconceptions or the concerns that we carry get in the way of our relationship with God. Jesus tells us in Mark 10 that we need to receive the Kingdom like a child if we truly want to enter it. I wonder then what we can learn from children to help us in our relationship with God?
I have been really blessed by the children who I’ve meet in this last week and I learned a great deal from them: not least to be reminded, that the Kingdom of God truly belongs to ‘such as these’.
With my prayers and best wishes