Children in Church
We have been helping our two year old, Nicolas, learn to attend church worship with us. He is actually very enthusiastic about being at worship, sings lustily during songs, and likes to try to “respond” along with the rest of the congregation to the liturgy. Despite his enthusiasm, at times his behavior is admittedly, very much like that of an active, not-so-quiet two year old, and not always appropriate for church!
Throughout the process of teaching our three kids about being in church with us and worshipping God, I often think I learn more than they, and today was one of those times. One element of our church service is a rather long pastoral prayer about 1/2 hour into the order of worship. Only recently has Nicolas even stayed with us during this prayer because, quite frankly, it is very long, and he gets pretty wiggly and tends to make noise after 8 minutes of Pastor Dave praying.
Well, today during the long prayer in the service, Nicolas excitedly whispered to me, “Flowers!”. I began to try to silence him and then realized he was keying into what Pastor Dave was praying about. Dave was talking about God clothing the flowers of the field. (from Matthew 6: 25-33). He then mentioned God feeding the birds of the air, after which Nicolas even more excitedly told me, “Birds!”. I whispered to him that yes, God takes care of the flowers and birds and we are even more important than they are, and He always takes care of us. He asked me, very earnestly, “God takes care me?” to which I smiled and replied, “Yes!”. “Yeah,” he affirmed, “God take care me!”.
He went on to repeat a couple more words/phrases in Pastor’s prayer and I was pretty surprised, I have to admit, that my little guy was actually, on a level very appropriate for a two year old, LISTENING to the words being offered to God in prayer, and at his tender age, assimilating the words being spoken into a simple truth about God’s care for him. It was a sweet reminder to me to not assume I always have a handle on just what a young child might (or might not!) understand of worship, and of how precious it is to have my children in church with me, and indeed, an encouragement to continue to patiently instruct them in this oh so important element of our lives as part of God’s church.