For the past few weeks in Sunday School, our children have been hearing different parables. Jesus used parables to help teach his followers, to make a point to his opposers, to give people a way to better understand the kingdom of heaven.
Most of us need help with understanding this. The kingdom of heaven is here, it’s coming; the kingdom of heaven is in us, it’s around us; the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed.
We’re not going to get it all figured out, that’s for certain. But, we work hard with our kids here at Minnehaha to keep them questioning and wondering. We want them to know that’s is okay to be confused, to have doubts. And, we want them to know that we’re with them through all of this – that as a community we are seeking what it means to be followers of Christ, and what it means to be God’s hands in the world.
We are with them in their confusion, in their wonder, in their discovery, in their joy, in their sorrow, in their calm and in their chaos. We are with them when faith in God comes easily, and when it seems impossible to believe. We are with them: this is being a community of seekers, this is being a church family.
- They learn to take time from their busy days, from running around, to focus on God, and to learn how to take God’s love out into the world.
One hour committed to learning and prayer, to praise and reflection, to offering and to blessing. One beautiful hour.
Perhaps your child might not be focusing? It takes time to figure out, for all of us, but by surrounding them in a community that has this as their intention, you present this as a value. Worried your child might keep others from focusing? Pshaw, not a concern. We’re going to work on this all together.
- They experience true intergenerational community, and know that they are a valued, celebrated part of this community.
Look around the sanctuary during worship – see people of all ages together, listen to their voices come together in prayer or song. Greet one another with peace. There’s not many other places in our daily lives where we have this kind of opportunity.
- They participate in rituals – the routines – of worship.
Some rituals are an ancient and global part of Chrisitianity – like saying the Lord’s Prayer – while other rituals are more unique to Minnehaha. By coming and participating in worship each week, they hear the prayers, the joys and concerns of others, they hear commitments made to help them grow in baptismal promises, they hear scripture that gives words to what they might be feeling. The more they participate in these rituals, the more comfortable they become, and the more comfortable they become, the more at home they will be in worship, and the more at peace they are to explore their faith.
And, please know that one of the wonderful things about Minnehaha is that people in the pews get kids, and know that they might cry, or forget to whisper, or want to make funny faces at the people sitting behind them. They are welcomed and treasured.
On this past Sunday, we kicked off our program year at Minnehaha with Rally Day. We had a lively service outside, met & blessed a great collection of volunteers to teach our children, went to classrooms, reconnected with friends, dined, painted faces, rode bikes, and more. It was a celebration.
As part of this celebration, we introduced our theme for the year: Peace Like a River. Throughout the year, we’ll be coming back to this as a touchpoint, to help us frame all of our seeking, serving, and celebrating.
Over the past two years, we talked about “stepping into the story.” This story of God’s love – we’re each a part of it, it’s our story as much as it’s the story of Abraham, King David, and the disciples. We are called to share God’s love with the world, and in doing so: we change the world.
In the midst of this is the driving force of and for peace. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, taught us that this bringing peace to the world wouldn’t be easy. He made sure we knew that this peace wasn’t for a select few. He made sure we knew that peace wasn’t about sitting quietly and not causing trouble. He made sure we knew that living a life of peace – that striving for justice and love for all – this will change the world.
We don’t sing about peace like a quiet pond deep in the woods. We sing about peace like a river: a powerful, dynamic force that leaves its imprint, that changes all in its path. Peace like a river that provides, that nourishes, that alters the world.
What would this kind of peace look like in your own life? In your children’s lives? What might a world of peace look like? Join us as we explore peace like a river.