29 June 2011

belonging to such as these

At our church we are in the middle of our VBS week, a time full of activity and fun and (eventually) exhaustion.

Teaching children is interesting. It takes more animation and a different way of explaining, but in the end the truths of the Word are still the same. Also, it is a great experience to see a number of church folks come together on a common project.

While in the middle of teaching some of the younger children about The Unforgiving Servant, making my best attempt at explaining what forgiveness is, I noticed the look in their eyes. It was as though they were encountering gospel and God's love for the first time. Perhaps they were. They were engaged and interested and intrigued.

I think that you can tell who the children are even when their physical ages do not correspond. The children of the kingdom are those who are not concerned with the ordinary minutia of a singular conception of church, but are captivated by the weird and radical excitement of following Jesus. It is hard to envision returning to the meetings, mediations and mess of 'big church' when our week-long emphasis on children's ministry has come to a close.

Jesus said that the kingdom would belong those who were like children, those who are totally engaged and excited by this gospel. Is it any wonder? When the singular focus of the church is on Jesus and his kingdom - what today is being termed missional - the junk of our own lives no longer has room within the community. But when we lose the childlike wonder of our faith we slip into a life devoted to seeking out our own wants and desires.

No, it will never be 'perfect' as we go along. But it will be markedly distinct from the rest of the world, unlike much of what we spend 'full-time ministry' trying to do.

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