Morning Reflection during the concluding worship of Council for World Mission: Mission with Children. Training of trainers of East Asia Region. on 23rd October 2010
Psalm 42:1 As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.
Children were one of the primary concerns of Jesus during his ministry. He challenged his audience to turn around and become one like them. He continues to challenge us, Churches and people with a sense of mission. The question is, have we faced this challenge with due priority and importance.
Today as we have seen through our various presentations the past few days, the situation children are placed in and the turbulent situation they confront. Abused children, traumatized children at home, children forced to live in poor and unhealthy environment, both economic and social, abused children, children under peer pressure, children forced to take up employment etc. Etc.
Church has been mostly a community of adults. They went around winning over numbers and establishing power over human communities and cultures in the name of Jesus.
We believe that Jesus is the saviour of the world. Most of the time ‘world’ meant the world of the powerful, the world of the feudal lords and the world of the highly placed and the world of the hierarchy. Women and children were mostly ignored and sidelined. We claim that faith in Christ transcends all understanding. At the same time we insist that children should have proper understanding for them to share the table of the Lord. We claim that we participate in the table of the Lord with perfect understanding. But we, with our short of understanding, have made world which God has created and found good a less comfortable place at least for our children to live in.
In our search for power over the partner to have custody of the child we made children just a thing or property.
In countries like India, children are tortured and persecuted in the name of education, career, success and prosperity. We assume these are much more important than quality of life with intact relation with God and fellow being involving love, caring, fraternity and peace.
Children are precious gifts of God, created in his own image and likeness. God has been so gracious to entrust us with one of his most beautiful creations. We must know that we are only the caretakers of God’s pride.
It is a question of our calling and commitment to that calling what we should be doing with our children.
Jesus asked his disciples to free the children that they can go to their saviour without hindrance.
Psalmist said in 42:1 (As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God) children by instinct goes to their saviour and that child need to be children and to be children they need to be with Christ. Children need to be children and nothing short of that.
The Church need to work hard and put together all its resources for the cause of the children to be with Christ.
We need to start with a conscientization process that the Church be the voice of the children and adults may become more wise in the case of children.
Each child is created unique and hence we need to deal with them carefully and individually.
To study and understand each child, its life and purpose in this world is a challenging task before us. It is to enter in to the mind of God and see how we should be caring for the child. We claim that through Christ we are in the presence of God. Then why do we not ask God of his purpose with each child.
God through Christ has expressed his will regarding children. No matter what specific context and situation each child may be in, the purpose is to be drawn near to Jesus Christ. How it can be accomplished is to be decided by the cultural and social context the local community is in and where each child grows up. The local congregation has to sit down and assess the socio-religious situation and see how best children can be drawn near to Christ and not driven away.
Usually the immediate response of adults towards child instinct, which was expressed by the disciples, is to say No. Do Not Do that. Let us be alerted of that tendency. Instead help the children express themselves and come closer to their creator. Now, let us go out to the ends of the earth starting with our backyard and help ourselves turn around and become one like the little ones and help those little ones drawn near to Christ’s presence, where they wish to be and where they truly belong.
Now let us go out to the ends of the earth and be the apostles of the rights of children. That is, be the apostles to the Gospel of Christ. That is, be the apostles to the inheritors of the kingdom of God.
God help us. Amen