Children have been on my mind recently. Of course one child, our son, is on my mind every day! But recently I’ve been reflecting on children and church. Well, specifically, the children of St. Peter’s, and even more specifically, the children baptized among us whom we have vowed to “do all in [our] power to support” as they grow “in their life in Christ” (Book of Common Prayer, page 303).
Like so many of you, I believe children are gifts: each young person is a sacred trust God gives families and communities like St. Peter’s to nurture, guide, and love. We are truly blessed with so many children and teenagers who enrich our spiritual journeys. Often children are innocent and curious enough to ask the BIG questions… questions which all of us might benefit from pondering from time to time: “Where does God live? Why isn’t Jesus alive like you and me? Did God invent trees? What does the Holy Spirit look like?” If we pause and pay attention to the younger people in our midst, perhaps we will understand more fully why Jesus said: “Suffer the little children to come to me” (Matthew 19:14). Maybe Jesus himself needed their vitality and joy on days when bearing God’s love to the world felt more burdensome than joyful.
It is a truism that “children are the future of the church.” But it is also true that children are the present of the church. As we move into this last month before summer blesses us with different rhythms, I invite you to give thanks for how St. Peter’s welcomes young people in our midst. With gratitude I honor those who minister intentionally to and with our children through Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, our Youth programs, and serving in the liturgy. And I pray that all of us might learn to “change and become like children” (Matthew 18:3), and in doing so discover the joy of the Kingdom of God blooming all around us.
–The Reverend Joslyn Ogden Schaefer, Associate Rector