Your Mission (Should You Choose to Accept It): Make a Child Happy

1-15By Shirley Van Riette of Independence, Missouri, USA

For you shall go out in joy, and be led back in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall burst into song, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

—Isaiah 55:12     

For several years a group of young men and women from Independence, Missouri, and surrounding communities brought ministry through music and testimony to many congregations. They called themselves Mission Possible.

They sang, played instruments, and shared testimonies of how God blessed them. They were young and eager to offer ministry. The group ended some time ago. On the day of their final concert, passion and pure joy filled their music and testimonies.

Two-year-old Drew was playing quietly in the children’s corner of the sanctuary. He did not seem much interested in the service, but as we know with children, he was listening.

Mission Possible chose the African-American spiritual, “Kum Bah Yah,” as offertory music. The group sang the verses, accompanied by several instruments. Then the drums began to beat out loudly. The young men began to boom out a vocal accompaniment: “OOH, OOH, AAH, AAH.” The young women sang the words. Drew jumped up from his playing and stood on tiptoes to see what was happening.

His mama lifted him so he could see. But he wanted down. He began dancing, smiling, and singing, “Kum Bah Yah”—a song he knows. Then it was over. The music stopped.

But Drew did not. In his loud voice he blared, “Do it again! One more time! Please! Do it again!” His joy reverberated throughout the sanctuary. The congregation, caught up in the Spirit, continued singing. That is joy—pure joy. That is what the world needs.

Prayer for Peace
God of music and mountains, we clap our hands in joy. We sing and dance in praise to you. May we follow the children and share the joy of Christ’s peace.

Spiritual Practice: Listening to Children
Sit in your quiet place and center your heart and mind on God’s presence. Spend several minutes asking God to bring into your awareness the names and images of children in your life. You may see their faces or hear their voices as you receive these impressions. Listen deeply to the unique gifts and needs of the children who come to mind. Offer a prayer of blessing for each child and the needs you perceive. If you feel led, you also may want to write a note or card and give a message of affirmation and love to each child.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will sing with children. If I can’t sing, I will hum. If I can’t hum, I will listen with joy.

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