This morning I attended worship at my “home” congregation in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angles, and was moved to see a reversal of roles they’ve been practicing this Lent. Typically during the “young Christians” section Pastor Janet closes by leading a repeat-after-me prayer, with the children repeating each line. Today the children were doing the leading, reading the lines of prayer, and the entire congregation repeated after them. Occasionally I couldn’t make out exactly what the words were supposed to be, but the act of being led by the children drew me into a deep presentness in the moment. I was grateful.
Last Sunday I worshiped with Luz y Verdad congregation in La Paz. It had been several months since I joined them on a Sunday morning, and I was delighted to see how they are thriving. One of the most significant developments is the participation of several new children from the community, full of energy and an eagerness to learn about God’s story. Itching to give and receive love.
These simple experiences have reminded me of the importance of the church as a multigenerational community. The youngest ones, the growing-up ones, the aging ones–we all have beautiful gifts to offer that community. But Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” For the children in our churches, and for God’s many mysteries, I am grateful.