By Reverend Andrew Kim
This past Sunday we looked at what the Bible has to say about covenantal worship. You can listen to the sermon here (https://cornerstone-pc.com/resources/sermons) or here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8_bqFB9vKw&t=20s).
Previously I wrote to encourage the parents of children. Today I want to exhort the church and how we can respond to the vision of covenantal worship.
Exhortations for the Church
First, encourage the parents especially when they are struggling to have their children sit still and listen. Parents may often feel overwhelmed with embarrassment, discouragement, and/or frustration all which can lead to anger and impatience toward their kids. Kind words can go a long way. Encouragement can give them what they need to endure a little more. Church, remember the vows you took as members when a child was baptized and you agreed to undertake the responsibility of assisting the parents in the Christian nurture of this child. Encourage them. Help them. Offer a hand.
Second, show patience and grace. In fact, abound in it. Yes, kids can be quite disruptive in the service. They can be tremendous distractions when you desperately need to hear the Word. But before you jump to critique and annoyance, ask the Spirit to give you patience and grace. Sometimes you may hear a noise behind you and wonder, “Why isn’t this parent doing anything about this?” You may be tempted to judge the parents or judge the children. It is so much easier to criticize and scoff than to show grace and patience but your judgment and impatience will not promote the vision of covenantal worship. It will only discourage parents from wanting to try again. But extend the same kind of patience, compassion and grace Jesus abundantly showed you. And be an ambassador of it back to God’s people.
Third, learn from the children. Multiple times in the gospels Jesus grabbed a child to teach us what we need to be like to enter the kingdom of God. He instructed his disciples, “Let the children come to me. And do not hinder them…”. Would we be so arrogant as to tell Jesus that he doesn’t understand how disruptive these kids in our service are? Maybe there’s a thing or two we can learn about having child-like faith from them. Maybe they are a gift to us that God is using to teach us something. Of course do not imitate any childish behavior. But the Spirit can and does use the most surprising things to teach us if we would just have the humility to learn.
Fourth, pray for the children. Pray Deuteronomy 31:13 back to the Lord. Pray that the children who are in the service “may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God.” When you see that child struggling to pay attention and focus, don’t offer them a glance. Offer them a prayer. Pray that the cries and shouts of little children would turn into cries and shouts of hallelujah and praise. And then watch expectingly as the Spirit makes and matures them into a worshipper that the Father seeks. And soon you can call them a brother or sister in Christ.