My wife Jennifer was reading the story of Jesus’ Ascension (Acts 1.6-11) from the Spark Story Bible to my three-year-old daughter Anneliese tonight. They had a great conversation:
Anneliese: What does “ascension” mean?
Jennifer: Let’s read the story, and then maybe you can tell me.
[They read the story.]
Jennifer: So, what does “ascension” mean?
Anneliese: Raise up?
Jennifer: Very good. After Jesus died and became alive again, he ascended into heaven. He went up into the air. He went up into heaven alive, and lives in every person who is baptized.
Anneliese: Me and you and Peter and Daddy?
Jennifer: And everyone who is baptized.
Anneliese: Just like, “Joined to Christ in the waters of baptism”?
She was quoting from the Thanksgiving for Baptism liturgy that we’ve been using in worship since the beginning of January. She made a connection between baptism and Jesus living in our hearts. Not bad for a three-year-old!
I’m not telling this story to brag about my kid or to make anyone feel bad about what they or their kids know or don’t know about baptism. I just think it highlights why kids matter so much in worship at Spirit of Grace.
Your kids are listening to what you say around them about God. Whether you go to church or not, your kids are soaking in your view of the world. When you bring your kids to church, they’re also soaking in how God looks at the world.
The liturgy teaches. When we thank God for the gift of baptism, we’re making a statement about who God is, who we are, and how we’re connected. Your kids may not look like they’re listening, but they are!
That’s why we encourage parents to bring their kids to worship on Sunday morning. We don’t have “children’s church,” and even if we had a place for a nursery we wouldn’t want it to be a place to stick children so that worship is only for grown-ups.
We think kids need the relationships and the learning that come from being in regular Sunday worship. And we grown-ups need the kids too.
It makes a difference – to them and to us.