I have not-so-fond memories from my childhood of what we called back in the day “Junior Church.” It could have been a wonderful, rewarding, and memorable way to present the gospel of Christ to kids in a way that was understandable and approachable. Usually, though, it was simply a way to get the kids out of the sanctuary and away from the adults so the latter could enjoy real worship without pesky distractions. And in my 1950s and early 1960s congregation’s case, it was an opportunity for one church elder to foist his home movies on trapped youngsters. Yes, it was often that bad.
But this week’s gospel lection is so much more (and different!) than that. Children, Jesus had the audacity to proclaim, are not a sideshow but reside at the core of the gospel. Here’s what I wrote previously on this blog about this week’s lectionary scriptures:
My most recent book, Speak to the Bones: How to Be a Prophetic People in a Time of Exile, is up on Amazon in both print and e-book formats: 161-page Book ; Kindle e-book. The ancient Hebrew prophets can serve as guides for modern-day prophetic communities to engage in actions for peace and social justice. Each of the 10 chapters includes questions for reflection and discussion, making this great for class use. My previous book What Was Paul Thinking? is also available on Amazon in both print and Kindle e-book editions.