Jesus said “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them…”
Dr. Seuss said “A person’s a person, no matter how small!”
I remember a young mom telling me a few years ago that after her child was born, a family member said “I suppose you will be leaving St. John’s for a church in the suburbs now that you have children.” The well-meaning individual assumed that because St. John’s is an established downtown congregation, there were no children in the community. The young mother laughed and assured her well-meaning relative that her family would be staying at St. John’s; indeed, that there were so many small children dashing around at church on any given Sunday that one had to be careful not to trip over them.
One of those children wrote the note included here on the back of a worship card on a recent Sunday morning. She is a 6-year-old lifetime member of St. John’s who worships with her family every week — singing, sharing the peace, looking up as the sign of the cross is traced on her brow. I know her to be bright and articulate, but I have wondered what would provoke a 6-year-old to write with such enthusiasm, “I like this church, in fact I LOVE this church!” The reasons, I believe, include the following:
• She’s been consistently and lovingly treated as a precious child of God by her family of faith. Young and old alike have taken the time to look her in the eye, ask about her life, and give her their undivided attention.
• She’s been part of our children’s ministry programming since she was 3 years old. She is loved, prayed for, called by name and valued by her teachers and mentors.
• She takes part in worship — sitting up front, singing in a choir and joining in an impromptu parade around the sanctuary now and then.
• And her parents are keeping the promises they made when she was baptized, challenging but life-giving promises.
Our children are not “junior” Christians, worth less honor because they are “small.” They are people of inestimable worth and great joy. We delight in their presence and their place in the household of faith.
Information provided by Pastor Rachel Thorson Mithelman, St. John’s Lutheran Church, 600 Sixth Ave., Des Moines, 515-243-7691.