Sermon “Ages And Stages: Become Like Children”

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 heavenIt 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. 


See the difference? No Paint!


You probably know that Princeton United Methodist Church opens its doors for stained glass window tours and meditation on Sundays, 11:30 to 1:30 pm. And you have probably taken the tour given by Duncan, Rick, Marv, or Barbara. But what if you bring a friend to church and the “official’ tour guides aren’t around? Or maybe you encounter a visitor?

Here are some of the interesting items to point out to visitors, keeping in mind that the visitor’s spiritual experience in our building, filled with a century of worship and prayer, is most important takeaway.

  • The Tiffany-designed St. George and the Dragon window, in the balcony, uses no paint. In contrast to the windows in the Jesus window, details were etched with acid.
    • Look for the dragon’s shimmering scales and the Tiffany Studio signature is on the lower right.
    • Methodists don’t usually have saints but this window memorializes a minister’s son, student at Princeton, who died in his 20s, so George is pictured AFTER he conquered evil (as if he were in heaven).
  • The four gospel writers in the sanctuary were like “stock photos.” They can also be found in the Cologne Cathedral. Ask a tour guide why they are out of order.
  • If the “Jesus and the Children” window in the Sanford Davis Room looks Tiffanesque, that’s because a former Tiffany artist, Louis Lederle, designed it, and also the windows on the adjacent stairwell. What do the faces of the women and children say to you?
  • The “Christ at Heart’s Door” in the chapel seems to ask the question, where is the handle on the door, and if there is one, why not? The “Jesus the Good Shepherd” window, sometimes called the Twenty-third Psalm Window, has a riddle as well, but you have to take the tour to find out!
  • Throughout, look for the Christian symbols in the smaller windows.

To schedule a tour – or help PrincetonUMC keep the doors open, email A special tour on April 15 will begin in our building at 12:30 and continue on to the chapel, led by Dan Aubrey of U.S. 1 Newspaper.


Windows Feeding Light into the World


Six stained glass windows from Canterbury Cathedral are on view at the Cloisters in NYC. They were crafted in the 12th century, 800 years before the beautiful windows at Princeton United Methodist Church were made. Yet despite the difference in age, the windows on Nassau Street share the same inspiring properties.

In the Middle Ages, said critic Holland Cotter in his review of the exhibition for the New York Times,  “Churches were conceived of as truth-holding boxes of light, but also as power stations, feeding light into the world.”

What an exciting concept! When we pass through the Sanford Davis Room, we see the awesome, huge “Let the Children Come to Me” window.

sd window

Now that window can remind us that the church holds the light of truth and that we can help “feed that light into the world.”

Noticing the “Let the Children Come to Me” window is particularly fitting for Sunday, March 3, when the Sunday School lesson focuses on that very story in Luke 18: 15-17.

One big difference between PUMC’s windows and those in medieval churches where the windows could be 60 feet above the floor: Ours are mostly at eye level.

As in medieval times, the light shining into our windows changes according to the weather and the time of day. Little Sam noticed that during the coffee hour last week. “Look Mom,” he said, “Just now, the light shone through Jesus’s face!”

Photograph of the Cloisters by Byron Smith. Photograph of the PUMC window by Patricia Hatton. The Cloisters exhibit remains through May 18, 212-923-3700.