This weekend we had the children from VBA (Vacation Bible Adventure) lead the musical portion of our worship. I have to be honest; I was skeptical that it would actually be worshipful. I pictured a lot of “oh, aren’t they cute” moments, but I wondered if there would really be a sense of worship. I was wrong… and I’m glad that I was! Our children did a great job leading us into the presence of God.
I don’t know where in my journey of faith I picked up the idea that God is always serious and that to encounter him we need a perfectly choreographed worship set – one where there are no distractions and everything goes off perfectly. I know what I have connected with personally, but this weekend I had to ask myself “why”. Why would it be such a roadblock to be lead into worship by the child standing with his hands in his pockets, or by the girl twirling her hair, or by the kid poking his friend in the back of the head? I love that we have God to whom those things can be worshipful. I was reminded Sunday that it’s not really a matter of what’s coming out of my mouth (or the kids’ mouths), but of what’s going on in my heart.
I was challenged by the passage that I decided to teach out of this past Sunday. In Luke 18:15-17 Jesus says,
Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Luke 18:15-17 ESV)
I don’t know that I ever caught the significance of that verse before. Jesus is pretty direct. To say, “If you don’t receive the kingdom like one of these, you don’t receive it at all…” Wow! Those are pretty direct words to the crowd that was forming around him.
So it got me thinking, how do we worship like a child? Here are some of my thoughts on it:
- We allow for spontaneity. I think one of the things that we all love about children, and one of the things that drives us crazy, is that they are spontaneous and unpredictable. You never know what they are going to do and how they are going to react. Yet, so many of our worship services look the same every week! A child-like worship allows for some sense of spontaneity.
- We fight to preserve our sense of wonder. Our tendency as we get older is to be able to explain everything. Part of that isn’t bad, but can we all agree that there are some things that we simply can’t explain? I read an article last week entitled, 13 Incredibly Lucky Earth Facts. The article walked through just 13 ways reasons that our life here on earth is “lucky.” You could look at it as luck, or you could look at it as miraculous! You could see it as the finger prints of God, and if you see it as the finger prints of God, a sense of wonder and mystery is preserved… and it will serve you well. The Psalmist writes that the heavens declare the glories of God and the skies proclaim the works of his hands. When was the last time you just allowed yourself to stand in wonder?
- We refuse to give into “dream stealers.” I love that in a child’s mind all things are possible. I remember reading a study once where they went into kindergarten classes and found that nearly every kindergarten thinks they are an artist. Sadly, that number drops rapidly the older a person gets, until in adulthood, only professional artists are artists. I’m not sure what happens along the way. I an only imagine that at some point we start looking at someone else’s work and think that ours is somehow sub-par. I love that kids believe they can. Period. Even if there is no way it’s possible… don’t tell them that. They might just make it happen!
I was challenged this week to have my everyday worship reflect more of that of children. Luckily for me, I have 2 great examples to keep me on my toes and to keep me inspired.