Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
This is a photo from worship last Sunday. Cooper and Brooks are cousins, they also happen to be my grandsons. Cooper and Brooks, moved by the Holy Spirit, or restlessness, decided to dance to the closing hymn. They had much to celebrate, they made it through the entire service without leaving and there were cinnamon rolls waiting in the coffee hour. Sitting through the service is no small feat for three and four-year-olds. So as the congregation sang Hank Williams’ “I Saw the Light,” they let loose in some ecstatic dancing. Their Norwegian sense of rhythm and their lack of inhibition led to a precious memory.
When I was a child, I thought like a child.
One of the great joys of having grandchildren nearby and having the Trinity Preschoolers in our building is the opportunity to observe the playful innocence of childhood. Children live in the moment. In the morning they worry little about the evening, or tomorrow or retirement. They are not checking emails, text messages or stock market reports. They put their faith in mom or dad, or their teachers and they play, they sing, they dance. Pretense? They are not yet self-conscious, so if they want to run around in diapers, they do just that. Here are the newly baptized at the after party.
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.” Those are the words of the Apostle Paul as he encouraged the Christians in Corinth to conduct themselves in a more mature way. Immaturity can be cute in toddlers and annoying in adults. But perhaps by suppressing the child in us, we are in fact robbing ourselves of joy and relying too much on our own merits. I might ask, do you regret the times you danced, or the times that appearances and maturity kept your from dancing?
Paul encouraged Christians to act like grownups and Jesus encouraged us to have faith like a child. So, which is it? Of course, it is both. We should display a certain maturity especially in our interactions with one another; we should be patient, kind and forgiving, while holding our tantrums to a minimum. But unbridled maturity, without the spontaneity of youth is not good either. And when it comes to faith, a childlike faith is the only one that can sustain us through the pitfalls of this life. A simple faith that does not require all the answers, absolute certainty, or intellectual assent. A childlike faith recognizes that we are simple creatures, we had nothing to do with our arrival on earth and we will have nothing to do with what happens to us when we leave this earth. A childlike faith understands that we are one hundred percent dependent on others for our life and our salvation.
I hope that we can reignite the wonder of childhood, to embrace joy, to dance when we feel like dancing, to laugh for no reason, to smile at every stranger, to think the best of everyone, and to eat dessert first. I hope that we can take the calling of God very seriously, our shared work is important, the world needs good people and good deeds. I hope that we can take our work seriously, while having the wisdom to not take ourselves too seriously.
Let’s display maturity, but let’s also dance in church; both to the glory of God!
One day closer,