Tag Archives: Lent

A person’s a person…

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” – Dr. Seuss, Horton Hears a Who

I’ve been thinking a lot about little people lately.  How they learn and grow.  How they discover the world around them. What exactly makes them tick. This shouldn’t surprise anyone as I have a little person around me constantly. He loves texture and sensation. He wants to feel everything. He pulls things apart, puts them back together and then starts all over again. He wants to feel the world. He wants to be part of things.

This type of existing that is so common in toddlers and even young children is not really reflective of our worship style or faith experience {in my denomination anyways}. We expect kids to sit and listen. To be quiet. To behave. There isn’t a lot of room to move around. There’s isn’t a lot they can dig into. They’re expected to be tiny adults.

I worry about my son. How he will experience God as he grows and where he will learn about faith.  How will he experience the spirit?  Will he feel he has a place in all of it? Right now there aren’t many places left in my ‘church’ to do that. There are congregations that still have Sunday Schools but numbers are dwindling and programs are disappearing. Of all the programs in a church, the Children’s programs are often the first to go. We think that we’ll start them up again when we have kids but kids don’t come, families don’t appear because there isn’t anything for them.  It’s a vicious cycle.  It’s a frightening prospect.  In our efforts to save money/energy/time we’ve neglected the most important people in our church.  We’ve forgotten that they are the key to the future. We’ve forgotten how much they can teach us.

Jesus said, “…Let the children alone, don’t prevent them from coming to me. God’s kingdom is made up of people like these.” After laying hands on them, he left.” Matthew 19: 14-15

My son’s life is filled with texture and boldness.  He wants to experience and be part of everything around him. He loves music and sound. He has moments of great joy and also of sorrow. He feels everything intensely and is willing to share in your feelings as well.

If his life is so rich with colour, texture, emotion and expression and God’s kingdom is filled with people like him, should we not have more colour, texture, emotion and expression in our services and communities?  Should we not have programs that cater to young children and their families? Should we not want to learn from them how to live, worship and love?

We cannot do that the way things stand.  When we focus worship around what makes us comfortable and relegate children to the side as observers we’re missing out on a huge part of the experience God wants for us.  We cannot take ourselves too seriously.  God wants us to be fully engaged and as adults it’s natural for us to withdraw and hide a part of ourselves.  We need to learn from the children.  We must discover what it’s like to be a child again.

I worry about my son. He has needs and has a right to experience God in his own way.  There should be a place where he can go to make those discoveries and have fun while doing it. Children matter.  They are important.  They are the future.

The Branches

I randomly found myself thinking last night of a name for the church that I always say I want to be part of.  The church that has:

  • Multiple services in different styles so that all people can be part of one community but experience God in their own way.
  • Ministry for youth and children, families, singles, seniors and anyone else who needs it.
  • Studies and small groups to help people connect and discover.
  • Comfortable seating so that people are happy.
  • Relevant messages that touch people’s hearts.
  • Mission that reaches out into the community around us.
  • A vision for the future and goals to make that happen.

I’d love for this church to be called “(we are) The Branches”.  This may sound cheesy but hear me out.  The name implies ownership.  The name is action.  It was inspired by this verse:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

Jesus says we are the branches.  On any tree there are many branches, each a slightly different expression of the whole.  Wouldn’t it be marvelous if we could all come together as one community, in one place and hold multiple services with various expressions.  If we gathered together, shared our resources and did ministry in the world what a difference we could make.  As a people we are called to be the branches.  If we claimed this name and allowed it to define us we might be encouraged to move boldly into the world, growing and reaching into the community in the hopes of making a difference.

I know these things may never happen but sometimes you just find yourself thinking…

{This is the reason I don’t do much personal reflection.  Once I start I can’t stop.  I apologize in advance for any further ramblings this project through Lent may inspire.}

What I’m doing for Lent.

It’s Lent.  Usually people give stuff up for lent but seeing as I’ve already given up meat, dairy and eggs {along with most rich desserts} I’m not quite sure what’s left to give up.  I could attempt to give up facebook or twitter but that would last two days and why set myself up for failure.

Thinking seriously about Lent I realized that giving stuff up is easier for me then adding it.  Adding stuff to my already busy life is hard and I constantly find excuses to not do things.  This year I’m adding God into my life.  In truth I reflect quite a lot for worship preparation but I can be lazy when it comes to me time.  I’m adding personal theological reflection to my life and it begins right here:

‘Forgiveness’ {also known as Chapter 7 of Mere Christianity} is where this project begins.   I’ve been attempting to finish this book for weeks.  After I finish this book I will begin another.   There is a stack of books that I want to read and I intend to set time aside each day to do so.   The list is quite long and I’m not sure if I’ll finish but I intend to give it my best effort.

I know you might be thinking that this is a lot for 40 days.  It is.  I really don’t expect to finish but I need a goal, something to strive for.  I want to explore faith and reflection from a personal standpoint.  I’ve left it wide open and included so much choice because I want to be able to move where the spirit leads me.  I want to read as I am inspired and contemplate the issues that leap out at me as I go.  As I opened the Bible this morning as a first attempt at personal time this passage was the one I saw first.

Found in the Wisdom of Solomon it struck a chord with me.  Lent is a daily journey to help us prepare to meet the risen Christ.  I hope this period of reflection and prayer will help me see what needs to be corrected in my life and help me find passion and purpose in the things God has planned for me.

Now you know what I’m doing for Lent.  What are you doing?