“I’m so, so, so sorry!”
As I was standing outside after the church service recently, a woman approached me to let me know how terrible she felt about something. I asked why she was apologizing and she just pointed to her son. At some point while I was preaching, he had made a noise, but truthfully, I couldn’t remember. Yet, her tone of voice and nervous demeanor revealed that she thought I would be really upset.
I’ve seen this look before in many parents’ eyes.
When the music plays and we sing together during the church service, most parents feel at peace. It’s louder, so others likely won’t notice a noise or two coming from their child. However, when it comes time for the sermon, the emotions change. Anxiety comes over them as they hope their young child will not act up, causing a distraction for others.
Trust me! I know the feeling!
My wife and I have been a part of a church in which our family was the only one with children. If there was a scream, laugh, or bodily noise, obviously, it was from one of our kids. When that happened, it felt like the eyes of everyone in the room were directed toward us. The only stress that compared was trying to keep our children quiet during those late-night plane rides to Kentucky for the holidays!
However, Jesus says to let the children come!
Seriously! Jesus says in Mark 10:13-16 to not inhibit children from coming to him. Apparently, the disciples thought the children were causing an annoying distraction. Jesus, however, strongly rebukes that idea. He loves children! Don’t forget, he was once a child himself.
And in verse 15, Jesus says that children show us a picture of how we are to receive Him.
Think about this: No child comes into this world independent. Rather, they are helplessly dependent. Everything, and I mean everything, must be done for them. In the same way, that is how you and I are to receive Jesus. We are completely helpless and totally dependent upon what he has done through his perfect life, death, resurrection, and ascension to bring us into a relationship with God (Matthew 18:3-4). Notice that Jesus holds the children in his arms and, with joy, blesses them. He safely holds them. That’s what you and I long for! What an image!
That is why we need children in the service!
The next time you see a mom holding her child or a dad playfully spinning their kid around, remind yourself that this is how we are to trust in Jesus. We don’t need to squirm or try to get out of his grip. We just need to rest in his embrace.
To that Mom, I say, “Please don’t apologize, and thank you!”
GPKids may not happen for some time. Parents, please don’t let that stop you from allowing your embodied presence, and your children’s presence, from showing a picture of the gospel as we worship. Amen! We hope to see you all Sunday!