“13 And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’ 16 And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.” – Mark 10:13-16 (ESV)
It’s Easter weekend, which means a few things for us at Crosspoint this year.
First, we had a Good Friday service for the first time since planting the church almost 10 years ago. It was a great time to be together as a church family. Although, I’ll admit that due to the little bit of lingering snow outside and the fact that the only evening service we’ve ever done until now has been on Christmas Eve, there were a few moments where I felt like we should be lighting some candles and singing Silent Night.
Second, we launch two services for the first time this weekend on Easter Sunday. I’m excited about creating room for more people to hear the good news about Jesus Christ! And I’m excited to see new opportunities for people in our church body to jump in and serve.
And finally, all our services this weekend are family services, meaning all the kids stay in the “big church” service with the adults.
Some of you are cringing at that thought. Right now you’re either thinking about all the toys, crayons, food, and money you’re gonna need to keep your kids quiet for an hour, or you’re thinking about how distracting it’s gonna be trying to listen to the message while the parents behind you are shoving candy into little Bobby’s mouth to keep him from making farting sounds and letting Suzy play a game on Daddy’s smart phone so she’ll quit drawing on your chair. (Mental note to switch phone to “silent” mode.)
Jesus’ disciples thought children were an annoying distraction. But Jesus disagreed emphatically. In fact, in Mark chapter 10 He says children are our example to follow when it comes to receiving the kingdom of God. So what can we learn from kids? Perhaps the most valuable lesson is to be yourself. And I don’t mean that in a “new-age”, “free thinking” kind of way. I mean it in a “get real before God” kind of way.
Family services serve as a reminder to me that the children are often times the most authentic people in the room. That thought came to me last night at our Good Friday service during communion as I listened to my 5-year-old daughter tell me what Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross meant to her, and then I looked over at my 3-year-old son just in time to watch him dunk his finger into my wife’s communion cup when she wasn’t looking.
Children are who they are in front of God and everyone else. What you see is what you get. They’re real. Genuine. Authentic. And then somewhere down the road they turn into us – adults who walk into church and pretend like we’re already fixed when the truth is that we’re broken inside. We don’t want anyone else to know how sinful we really are. We don’t want anyone else to see our hurt, our loneliness, our shame. So we put on our best behavior and try not to be a distraction to anyone else.
But here’s the thing. That sin that you’re trying to hide so no one else sees….Jesus died for that. That facade you put up week after week…..Jesus sees right through it. And on Easter Sunday we will celebrate the fact that Jesus put to death death itself and rose from the grave so that you and I can come to Him, bearing all that we are, exposing all of our sin and shame, being real, genuine, authentic with our Savior and find complete forgiveness for our sins, hope that in Him we are no longer who we once were, and peace in knowing that no matter what anyone else thinks of us, we will never be an annoying distraction to our Heavenly Father. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” – 1 John 3:1
Can we all just agree right now that it will probably be louder than normal in the services tomorrow and be okay with that? If you’re worried about your kids being a distraction, the front row is the best place to sit….mostly because everyone else is behind you, so you can’t see anyone turn around and look at you when your kid starts crying because she ran out of stickers. My family and I will save you a spot, but don’t be surprised when my son drives his Hot Wheels car across your leg and my daughter keeps tapping your shoulder so she can show you her new sparkly pink shoes.
And for those of you who think other people’s kids are gonna ruin your Easter…..well, there’s always the podcast.
May we all come to Him as children this Easter, lest we miss out on the very thing He died and rose again to give us access to…..His kingdom! Praise our Heavenly Father, who sent His one and only Son to die on the cross for our sins and rise from the grave three days later so that those who come to Him as children can spend eternity forever with Him. Amen!