The Kingdom among Us

By Barbara Howard of Independence, Missouri, USA

…“Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”  Mark 10:14

A significant time in our congregational worship occurs early in the service: a focus moment, when the children often participate. It is a way of giving the children a chance to explore the meaning of the lectionary scripture passage. Eagerness and participation go hand in hand as the children respond.

As part of her sermon in a recent Thanksgiving service, the speaker suggested that Jesus grew up with the story of sukkah, a three-sided dwelling in which Jews meet to celebrate their journey from Egypt to Israel, feasting for seven days. Christian pilgrims in Colonial America, grateful for the safety of their journey and the harvest, might have drawn on that tradition as they established a season of thanksgiving.

The speaker invited the children to write and draw on a picture of a sukkah something for which they were thankful.

The children wrote or drew things about their families.

The children’s gift that day, as they sat and worked quietly while the speaker preached, was a powerful ministry of presence.

Attentive silence, not usually associated with the children, was in itself an act of gratitude.

For several years we were primarily an adult congregation. To have the children bring ministry is a reminder of the ever-present Spirit of the kingdom that is in our community, opening us to futures beyond imagining.

Prayer for Peace:

Ever-present Spirit, we are thankful for the children among us. We are aware they can teach us so much. They will be our leaders to peace.

Spiritual Practice for the Week: Making Responsible Choices

Each day this week prayerfully seek God’s guidance in your choices. Discernment invites us to orient our lives toward God and God’s vision for us and creation. Begin by reviewing the responsibilities and opportunities in the day before you. Take these choices into prayer, asking God for wisdom and insight about what matters most.

Offer yourself to God with the prayer of Teresa of Avila: “God, what do you want of me today?” Sit prayerfully with this question as you review the day again. Be aware of images, thoughts, names, or actions that come to you. Ask for a blessing to live this day responsibly and compassionately in the spirit of Christ.

Peace Covenant:

Today, God, I will hold the children in my heart and listen to what they say.

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