This term in Chapel at Lindfield we’ve been looking at children in the Bible and exploring what they might mean for the young people in our midst. We started with this passage from the Gospel of Mark where Jesus blessed the little children after the disciples were trying to dismiss them.
Mark 10:13-16 – Jesus Blesses Little Children
Some people brought children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples scolded the people. When Jesus noticed this, he was angry and said to his disciples, “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you that whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on each of them, and blessed them.
We’ve looked at the boy who offered two loaves and five fish to Jesus and Jesus used that to feed 5000 people. that reminded us that even the little things that young people can offer can make a big difference. We’ve looked at God calling the boy Samuel to be a prophet from the Old Testament and seen how that reminds us that young people have special roles to play in their school or their communities. We’ve also looked at the story of David and Goliath and how that reminds us that young people can have the courage to take on tasks that others might think too difficult. And finally, we’ve looked at the story of Jesus aged 12 in the Temple which reminds us that young people can have great wisdom and knowledge.
These stories are powerful reminders for our boys of the unique and special abilities for young people. My hope has been that it has inspired them to think about what difference they can make in their communities and their world at large. Just because they’re in Prep School doesn’t mean that they can’t do something to make the world a better place.
As I’ve reflected on these readings, personally I see them as a challenge to us as adults and the way we sometimes look over or dismiss the role that young people can play. As a youth minister, running programs in Churches for young people, a University Chaplain, a teacher and now a School Chaplain I have always sought to be challenged by the example and leading of young people in our world. In the story of David and Goliath, a story many are familiar with, we see David, a young boy, having the courage to take on this difficult task while all the adults around him laugh at him saying he’s too young to do that. I wonder, how many times we as adults have dismissed the role that the young people in our midst can play.
This reading from Mark, which I’ve quoted above, has always been a guide for me in my ministry to young people. In this we see Jesus welcoming the children around him while his disciples were trying to get rid of them. It should remind us to try to always find space for the young people in our midst, even when they’re difficult or troubling.
Cindy Brandt Wong, an American Theologian and Parenting Advisor, has taken this passage a bit further. She suggests that in this act Jesus isn’t just blessing the little children he’s using them as an example to the adults around him. Here he’s challenging the adults to be led by the children.”
I think that’s a powerful challenge for us as adults, how can we be led by the example of children in our midst? Not just welcome them but be willing to be led by them. How might we be willing to be inspired by the example that children in our midst set for us? And, how might we in turn encourage their talents to shape the world around us?.
Pastor Richard La’Brooy – School Chaplain