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Sunday, October 15, 2017

LET THE FAMILIES COME TO ME, by Rev Robin Humphreys, Kids Friendly Coach


Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them.”

Until becoming a parent just over two years ago, I had never considered this passage from a parent’s perspective. If I had been in the crowd that day with my daughter, I wonder how I would have felt when Jesus spoke these words. Would I have felt surprised? Relieved? Reassured? Maybe along with my daughter, I would have also felt welcomed? Maybe by Jesus welcoming the ‘little children,’ he was therefore welcoming the whole family as well.

I believe this, in fact, is the power behind welcoming children in our churches. By welcoming children, we welcome the whole family. In fact, we more than welcome them, we include them as active participants and contributors in our worship. It is my belief and experience that when a child is welcomed, the whole family is welcomed too. And that when a child is invited to be a full participant in worship, the whole family is invited too.

My husband, Paul, daughter, Moana, and I have recently returned to New Zealand. Along with our move to New Zealand, my husband and I are experiencing a new season in our lives. We are a family seeking a home church! This is new space for us, since in the past we have served the local church. We have our ‘child’ and ‘family’ radar on as we visit churches. We find ourselves asking the questions: “Where is our daughter welcome”? “Where is our family welcome”? And, most importantly to us at this season in our lives, “Are we invited to worship together as a family” and not feel as though our daughter is being “whisked away” from us part-way through the service?
These questions are not unique to us. Many other families in New Zealand are asking similar questions. As the church, what are our “answers” to these questions? Are our answers only in word? Have we truly put action to Jesus’ words: “Let the children come to me and do not hinder them (Mt. 19:14)”? When we welcome children, we welcome families. When we make space for children in worship, we free the entire family for worship of our Living God. What an awesome responsibility, what an awesome privilege, what an awesome calling! Let the families come to me and do not hinder them!

1 comment:

  1. A great article Robin! I love this idea of Jesus' call to the child as being a call to the whole family. These passages can tend to be viewed through an individualistic mindset, that this is about the child, singular. But this happened in the middle of a community. Faith is corporate.

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