Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” Matthew 19:13-14
Children of deaconesses may be a unique breed. On her first day of Kindergarten, when her teacher asked what the children would like to learn and do in school, my youngest didn’t say “play” or “use computers”. She said, “I want to study theology.” When the teacher asked what theology meant she replied, in a somewhat exasperated tone, “The study of God.”
I love observing children during worship. I find that those whose parents are serving in ministry are apt to make themselves feel more at home in church. Still, we never know what words about God they are hearing, what music is not only moving their feet but touching their souls. We can’t be sure what they see through innocent eyes of faith during Communion, or what seeds — being planted in worship — may grow.
During worship at a recent annual Deaconess meeting, I listened and watched as the children of deaconesses provided their own forms of liturgical dance. One small child very comfortably clung to his mother’s legs as she served the body of Christ to those communing. A little girl seemed to be in her own world, chatting away to herself as the gospel was read. Then, as the words, “to move mountains” were spoken, she looked up and laughed and said, “Move mountains?!” I was reminded that it is challenging for parents of any young child to have them present in worship, yet bringing them plants the seeds of our faith. We need them with us for that.
But we need them for us, too; for they are truly God with us in the purest form. “… Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”
Prayer: Father, thank you for the gift and voices of children as they learn and grow in you. Amen.
Deaconess Cheryl Plummer, Royal Oak, MI