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Day 2—Thursday, February 15

Mark 10:13-16

People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.

As I began to contemplate these verses, I realized that children are some of my favorite people. I planned my teaching career so I could spend summers with my future children. Chuck and I have six, and now we’ve added spouses and grandchildren, so trips and vacations are planned around them. Remembering the names of the children at RCPC is important to me, and I do my best.

My mother died on Christmas Day, and part of the scripture was the Matthew counterpart to Mark’s verses because nobody loved children more than my mother! One thing my mother emphasized to me was to never turn around during worship to stare at a fussy child. Why not? “If you make parents feel that their child is unwelcome, they might never want to come back.” Is this our version of “Let the little children come to me…?” Now we have a new room near the sanctuary for fussy kids, so maybe that will be a balance for worshipers young and old. We definitely welcome families, and the number of kids seems to be multiplying!

A beautiful result of that was shown at Youth Sunday at the end of January when our middle/high schoolers led a very meaningful worship service. Jesus says we must receive the kingdom of God like a child does, and I think this means with faith, innocence, delight, wonder, humility. These qualities were evident that Sunday. Some were nervous, some were excited, some were confident, but all were working together to provide a worship experience for all of us. Some of the best lessons I’ve learned – Biblical or otherwise – have come from children. Daniel Owen-O’Quill passed along many riveting thoughts, but one lesson we can take away from this wise high school sophomore is “… we are called not just to believe in Christ’s teachings, but to act upon them and do our best to be about a reflection of God’s love on Earth.”

It is my hope that these children will feel the strong foundation of the love of a church family. When we welcome the children as Jesus wanted us to do, they benefit from that love throughout their lives. We might not realize it, but we older adults benefit too.

-Cheryl Gilliland



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