Not too long ago, Pastor Brandon invited the congregation into a time of silent prayer and reflection. It wasn’t but a few seconds later that one of our youngest members began to coo into the stillness. It was a remarkable moment, in which our expectations were shattered by the beauty of a child babbling in the sacredness of that moment.
Honestly, I wondered how many would be upset by this child’s noise in the midst of their silence. To my delight, many walked out of worship commenting that their favorite part of the service was the child’s noise! There was an innocence in it and a reminder that life is full all around us!
There’s an old saying that is crippling—a child should be seen, not heard. The intent is clear, children shouldn’t be children. This isn’t new, of course. In Jesus’ time, there was a clear expectation that children were on the margins. The ‘real’ stuff of life was among the adults. In Mark 10:13-16, Jesus takes an opportunity to give us eyes to see the real stuff of life—that children are often the great teachers in their simplicity and trust!
The extravagant welcome is an inclusive welcome. It extends from old to young. It embraces those on the inside of the club and those on the margins. This inclusiveness allows us to see the fuller image of God and community. For when we believe that everyone is a teacher—namely, that each can teach another something—then we have ears to hear and eyes to see! If you don’t think so, just ask a kid to look at the clouds and what they see! Their world is so vivid and alive and reminds us of how majestic everything is! Perhaps the noise of children is the most important noise in the church!