On Sunday, August 4, 2019, Pastor Jennifer Smith-Walz preached a sermon titled “Become Like Children” from the sermon series “Ages and Stages,” and based on the scripture from Mark 10:13-16.
I invite you to go back to your childhood for just a moment. Think about those people in your life who loved you and who you loved. Who were those who let you be a kid, giving you space to be you, and value your opinions? Who were those who weren’t interested in you or your views? Who were those who got irritated at you for just being a kid?
Today we are talking about how much we need children in our lives and how important it is for them to have adult faith when they grow up. Jesus tells us how wonderful it is to have children among us, even when his disciples tried to keep them away. In the Sanford Davies Room, we have an example in the large stained glass windows depicting mothers bringing their children to Jesus to be blessed.
Children play a different role in society. Having children means that God has blessed you and given this particular gift. What is essential in life is that children make it to adulthood and be able to pass on the same things, both traditional and economical that were passed on to us. Not all children will make it to adulthood. Being blessed will give them a better chance to live long in this time and place.
We adults need be children to have hope of entering the kingdom of God, “for to such [as these] belongs the kingdom of heaven” It is for this reason that we baptize children. Many adults have forgotten what it is like to be children. Movies like “Mary Poppins,” “Polar Express,” or “Christopher Robin” seek to “inspire our nostalgia for the innocent fantasies of childhood.” It’s not just about having the good things in life. We must be able to enter the kingdom of God, to connect deeply with God and his purposes in this world and reconnect with one another. It is going to be joyful but also painful.
Children hold up a mirror in front of us, so we need to be careful how we treat them – how we pay attention to things like bullying, school violence, juvenile incarceration, child abuse, and the way we deal with immigrant children. Also, how we deal with fear, conflict, and anger. We must, therefore, be careful how we act in front of children as they tend to copy our ways, good or bad. Children are vulnerable, at-risk, dependent, in need.
I invite each one of us to connect with five young people in our congregation and pray for them. Maybe you are being called to be a Sunday School teacher. Children can teach us too. Let them help you to see yourself as God sees you, as you need to be seen by yourself to enter into the Kingdom of God.
Here is a link to the podcast of Pastor Jenny’s sermon
For the complete video of the August 4 service, go to Princeton United Methodist Church Facebook page.