Good morning ! I hope you slept well last night. For the first time in a long while I slept through the night without a single wake up, and I am very thankful for it. I feel well rested and ready to meet the day. I'm bad, however, at planning productive things to do on Saturdays, so I guess I'll just play it by ear and see what happens.
Today we are focusing on just three verses in chapter ten of Mark. Verses 13 through 16. Some people brought children to Jesus to touch and bless. The disciples tried to stop them, probably thinking that Jesus had more important matters to deal with to bother with little children.
14. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God.
15. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
16. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
As mothers of very young children, sometimes it can be a little discouraging to bring a baby or a toddler to worship. They cry, they fidget, they are loud, they ask questions, etc. If you add autism into the mix, it can be even more discouraging. The temptation to stay home until the child(ren) are older can be strong. I plead with you, don't give in to it. Just being there you may be an encouragement to others. And the children are learning: how to behave during worship, about Jesus and the love of God, and they are learning that the first day of the week has a special importance. Yes, it is hard to think fully about why we take the memorial bread and fruit of the vine, and yes, it can be hard to get much out of the sermon when you're taking a little one to be changed or calmed or whatever. I've been there more times than I can count. Sometimes my son still has excessively fidgety moments and we deal with them.
Ladies of the congregation who don't have young children or children with autism, please hear me: your help and encouragement is greatly needed. I have been in congregations where my son's exuberance was met with frowns or standoffishness (perceived) and at some points I stopped attending. While the responsibility is ultimately mine, no one called. No one checked to see why we weren't showing up. That is very discouraging to a young mother.
I have also been blessed to be part of congregations where there was (is) much encouragement. The congregation we worship with now has been such a blessing. The first Sunday we were there J was loud. It was a new place with new faces and although he understands there are certain rules we follow for church, he was dealing with the newness in his typical manner. I took him to a classroom where I could still hear and he could relax a bit. After service, I was a little shy because of how loud he'd been. I needn't have worried. Several of those precious women stopped to say hello and welcome us, and some looked directly at J and spoke with him. That meant so much to me. It still brings tears to my eyes to think of such love.
We should encourage our young mothers and fathers. Be understanding when a child cries out. Jesus didn't forbid them to be near. He said let them come to me.
Our faith should be like that of a child: honest, forgiving easily, trusting fully that they will be taken care of and loved. They love others fairly easily too, and until taught differently see no difference in color of skin, dialect, or mannerism. The innocence of a child is a wonderful thing. Bring them to church. Continue teaching them. If you have no children at home, encourage the younger ones in the congregation. These are our future teachers, song leaders, preachers and preacher's wives. Our future missionaries. Bring them.