Today taught me something I sort of already knew, but I guess the lesson was nicely reinforced.
What was the lesson? That a healthy church resembles a healthy family.
Here's the thing, and some people may be surprised by this...in every church, there are little kids.
Lots of little kids.
Some are tornados with spineless parents who can't control them and give in. Pray for that family.
Some are tornados with strong parents who are doing their best, but Little Billy is still going full throttle at 11pm. Pray for that family.
And some are just kids who act like kids. Pray for that family, too.
People? Children are not mini-adults. They are humans who haven't developed all the mental and emotional tools that we adults...most of us...use on a day to day basis.
Jesus very famously said that children should be free to approach Him. Look up Matthew 19:14.
He saved His caution and disdain for hypocrites who constantly tried to trap Him with theological questions that only extremely wealthy and well educated people had the time to ponder.
So, here I was, sitting in church, and the pastor gets up to preach. Now, a mom had brought her little guy in and sat in the front row. No big deal.
After a while, the little guy took his snack, and then his cars, and made himself quite comfortable, quite literally "at the feet" of the pastor.
First, he set his snack container on the platform. The pastor just took it all in stride.
Then the little guy lined up a nice traffic jam of Hot Wheels along the padded kneelers, down front where people go to pray.
The thing is, that kid was quiet, and he was simply playing. He wasn't disruptive. He wasn't acting out. He was just being a 3 year old who was playing quietly during a really good sermon.
I was so glad no one tried to haul him away. Or worse, approach the mom who was clearly aware that this was unusual, but also knew that her little boy was doing fine.
Afterward, I went down and complimented her on her son's adorableness, and his great behaviour, and HER great parenting.
So did another person, a great dad himself.
You see, not all of us have it together. Okay, NONE of us do.
But when we can see the undisruptive unusual, and recognize it for what it is, which is just letting someone play outside the box? Then we can see greatness in action.
To that mom? Well done raising a boy who is happy in his own self, and respectful enough to play nicely and not let 250 pairs of eyes get to him. Or you.
There's a lesson. Be calm, and a child will be calm as well. No, not all the time. But you could tell that the kid knew how to just be chill.
To my pastor? Well done, Rev. Matthew Maxwell. A lot of us were impressed that you preached on and taught about the Body of Christ, and just let that kid be himself as he played and snacked and played some more. And WELL DONE setting the example of letting that mom enjoy church without feeling like her sweet little boy was ruining Sunday for the entire congregation.
Here's a shot of the sweetest sermon I've seen in years. (And yes, I purposely am not showing a close-up of that little boy, or his face, because that's not the point, nor is that acceptable.)
People? This is how to preach when the Hot Wheels come to church.