Whenever I see a family in church on Sunday mornings I am in awe. I am in awe that they got themselves dressed and out the door and in church after a week of school, work, and many other activities. For those of us who do not have children, there is a deep sense of respect and awe that parents take their roles of nurturers so seriously. You often put your own needs aside to ensure that your children have everything that they need. Clearly, the Christian formation of your children matters to you. Week after week, you do whatever is necessary to get your kids to church and to Sunday school and Children’s worship. It’s not an easy task, but the payoff is beyond measure.
Thomas and I notice when families come to the altar rail for communion. We notice the wonder in your children’s eyes, even children who are not yet two years old, getting caught up in the mystery taking place. Somehow, they know they are a part of it all. I see little thumbs and forefingers come together as I approach them with communion. They know something sacred is happening and they want to be a part of it! And I am in awe when a young boy receives communion and bows his head for prayer at the altar rail. He lingers longer than the rest of his family and it seems he is caught up in that liminal space that no words can describe. And I am in awe.
In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus said, “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14 ESV) At Epiphany we believe that our children and youth are vital members of our Parish and contribute to our common life by their wonder, their desire to learn about their faith, and their sheer joy in living every day. Our children have so much to teach us about the love of God. If we are patient and are willing to engage them, they will open our eyes and hearts to the mysteries of life that many of us have forgotten or ignored.
I hope that if you haven’t had a chance to have a conversation with one of our children or youth that you will make a point of doing so. They are bright, funny, creative, and full of joy! As you engage them you just may see the world in a different way. And if you’re like me, you will be forever changed and filled with awe.Faithfully yours in Christ,