Reflection:  A sermon for the children of Gordon United Church

November 14, 2021

Dear children:

I miss you when we don’t see you.  I know the rest of the congregation does too! I am really looking forward to when we are all able to be together again safely.  Church just isn’t as much fun when it’s all adults – even though our grown-ups can be just like kids a lot of the time!  You are a blessing to this congregation, and to this community.

We know this has been a hard time for you and your families.  Not being able to see your friends or your grandparents or aunts and uncles or cousins for months – even a year or two!  Not being able to do the activities you would normally do.  Not always feeling safe in school or when you’re out shopping or doing other things.  Having to wear a mask so you can’t see faces and don’t know if people are smiling or frowning at you.  Perhaps you have trouble reading faces anyway – or you have trouble hearing and need to read lips – and the masks have made that extra hard!  Maybe you feel like the grown-ups around you are unhappy or anxious or even mad at each other because of things related to COVID.  That’s not a very nice experience.

I hope you know how much you are loved, and that you are safe and well-cared for, whatever else is going on in your life.  I hope you have someone to talk to about the good things and the hard things right now.  I hope you know that I am here for you if you ever need to talk or ask some questions.  Your grown-up friends here would be too.  We care!

I am worried that when things get better, we won’t see you as much as we used to.  I know that many families have new routines – new things you do each day of the week – and that your church activities haven’t been part of that for a while.  We hope you will come back,  because the church isn’t the same without you.  Some of you were baptized here at Gordon United. You won’t remember the words I said, when I carried you down through the congregation to meet the folks here.  I said, “May we be a blessing to you, as you are a blessing to us.”  I hope those words will always be true.

From the Bible today we read a story about a woman named Hannah who really, really, REALLY wanted a baby!  She wanted a baby so badly that she said she would bring her baby up to serve God in a special way if she just got the chance to be a Mom.  She said that her baby would be a leader, and help make the world a better place to live in for their people.  The baby would do God’s work, and talk to people about what God wanted for them.  Well Hannah and her husband Elkanah had a baby boy.  His name was Samuel.  He grew up to be a priest (kind of like a minister) and a prophet – someone who tells people what will happen in their world if they choose to live in God’s way – or if they don’t!  Today we might call someone like Greta Thunberg a prophet – because she keeps warning us what will happen if we don’t take better care of the planet.  Samuel actually heard God’s voice speaking to him when he was still a kid!  Isn’t that amazing?  God gave Samuel his job to do before he was even grown-up.  You see, God thinks kids are important too!

Did you know today is Children’s Sunday? It’s a special day to think about you, and children like you, around the world – and to remember what a blessing you are!  We’re thinking about you and praying for you.  We know that children don’t get to make the decisions a lot of the time about what happens in your lives – but you still get stuck with the consequences.  I know you know about consequences: that’s a popular word for parents these days!  Many of you have grown up knowing that there are consequences from the choices adults made years ago that you will be living with –  especially when it come to having clean water, air, and lots of creatures and plants to share the planet with.  We know you worry about that – we worry about it too.  Adults usually want the best for the children in our lives; we’re just not always good at figuring out what that is!  We need you to help us see what you really need.

I was thinking a few weeks ago about what blessings I want most for you right now.

First of all, I want you to be SAFE AND HEALTHY. That’s the number one thing, for you, and for all the children of the world.  Life is very hard for so many kids; we want to make choices that are a blessing for children – that keep more and more children safe from disease and danger.  For example, only half of the world has had a chance to get a COVID shot – and most of those are not children, since we’ve only just got a vaccination going for kids.  Some grown-ups will have a hard time deciding what the right thing is to do for you when the shots are ready.  We are praying that whatever happens, you will be well.

Another thing I want for you is HOPE.  Hope is a big word, but it means that you have something to look forward to, something to hold on to when things get tough.  I want you to know that the world has goodness, and fairness, and beauty, and fun, and new things to see and do and learn and experience.  I have hope that from the very beginning of time until now and into the future the Holy Spirit is working to bring good things out of what might seem like hopeless situations.  It’s not all scariness and gloom, though sometimes it can feel that way!  I have hope for you and your future because of something else I would like for you.

That other thing is FAITH.  Do you know how you feel when you’re with the person who loves you best in the world?  You trust them.  You know they will care for you.  You know they will help you.  That’s who God is for us – and I hope you will grow up trusting God.  That’s what FAITH really means.  How do we know we can trust God?  Because we know about Jesus.  We know that Jesus welcomed children and said that you kids know the way to live in God’s way better than we adults do!  Jesus said that children are ahead of adults when it comes to a place in God’s new world of love and fairness.  We know that Jesus taught us to act out of love, not anger or hate.  We know that Jesus taught us the world would be better if we shared more, we didn’t hit back, we didn’t treat others as enemies, we didn’t get caught up in lies or showing off or collecting too much stuff.  Jesus taught that if we trust God, and follow Jesus’ teachings, we will have a better world. So hope and faith go together!

All of these blessings come together under one big word: LOVE.  More than anything else, we want you to know that you are LOVED.  “God is love,” the Bible says, and God’s love is wrapped around you every single day. We love you too – even though we’re probably not as good at loving as God is.  But we wrap you with our love and our prayers too.  For us you are a blessing.  Your life makes a difference – to us, and to God.

On this Children’s Sunday, we want to pray the blessings of Safety, Health, Faith, Hope and Love for you.  And the greatest of these is Love.  Amen.


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