Tomorrow we celebrate Easter and we’re trying something a little different. We’re going to have our kids stay with us for worship. All our kids. For all of worship. Ok, don’t panic.
If you’ve been to Seven Mile Road before, you know that we have our young children stay with us for singing and then allow them to go to nursery for the Word and Sacrament part of our service. At the same time, we generally encourage school age children (roughly 7 years old and above) to stay with us for the whole time. Will they understand everything or comprehend all of the sermon? No. Will they be trained to sit with the people of God in the presence of God and under the authority of the Word of God? Yes. Do they understand more than we think they understand? Yes. Do we have scenes in the Scriptures of families worshiping God together including infants and little ones? Absolutely! (Deut. 31:9-13; Josh. 8:34-35; 2 Chron. 20:13-14)
[For some good thoughts on having our children participate in corporate worship, click here for a post by SMR Boston.]
Tomorrow being Easter, and a special day, we’re going to have our entire church family worshiping together. This will give our nursery volunteers a week off and allow them to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus with us as well. Here are a few quick thoughts as we try this tomorrow.
They’re going to make noise. It’s okay! Inevitably, one of our kids is going to cry or whisper or shuffle around or shout. Do your best to have them sit quietly. But don’t see them as a distraction (Matt. 19:13-15). In fact, let them serve you. Let their unruliness and immaturity and easily-distracted-nature remind you of how you are with God. He loves you anyway and so we do with our children. Let their helplessness and smallness remind you of how you need to come to God. When we hear our children tomorrow, let it be a sign of life and the health of our church. Let it be a reminder that they are the future of our church. These ones who will have a hard time sitting through a single service are the same ones we hope to pass the baton of gospel, mission, and community to in the days to come.
Our preaching will be shorter. Our singing will be longer. I don’t know what’s happened to me but I am averaging 50 minutes recently. Tomorrow, I’m shooting to preach around 20 minutes. So hopefully that will help as you seek to have your children sit through the service. We’ll also be singing an extra song or two of celebration which our children will enjoy.
Show grace to yourself and to your neighbor. Tomorrow, we remember the good news that when we failed to perform as God required, Jesus came to perform perfectly and die for our imperfection. Jesus rose again and He is our righteousness. If you or the parent sitting next to you doesn’t pull off the have-your-child-sit-quietly-for-service perfectly, show grace. Of all days, grace is what tomorrow is about.
Looking forward to a noisy, joyful, full of life and new life in Jesus, Sunday tomorrow. See you then.