Sermon Snap Shot May 27, 2018

journey-together

Sermon Snap Shot May 27, 2018

Last week I talked about 20th century German theologian Helmet Thielcke’s notion of “alien dignity” and how – no matter how damaged we might be physically, emotionally or psychologically – we are all the “apple of God’s eye” because we are bestowed with a dignity which is not of this world, a dignity that comes from God.
Well Jesus’ words here in today’s translation sound similar. I love how Jesus scolds the disciples for “shooing” away the children and says in essence, “These children here – they are the kingdom’s pride and joy.” They belong here just as much as you do. In fact, if you truly want to be received into my Father’s good graces, you need to be more like them than not!
My experience over the years has been that for every one church in America that fulfills this teaching beautifully, you’ll find at least 10 others who have long since ignored it. And while many of these churches might have a sign in the yard that still says “Church,” they have long since quit being anything that Jesus would recognize. No, over time they evolve from being a church into a social club and then into a museum of sorts. Eventually, many of these former churches are converted into something else altogether, like a restaurant (there are a number of these examples in my hometown of Charleston) or condos (Anne and I saw a lot of these during our visit to Quebec City a few years ago).
But our calling is not to simply practice hospitality to our children and youth – to make them feel welcome, wanted and love. No, the bigger challenge involves taking the next step where we say to the children and youth that God brings to us,
“I want to be your friend, your guide, your coach, your mentor – not just for the next few weeks – but for the next few years as you continue to take steps toward young adulthood. Not only am I glad that you are here, but I’ve got your back. You can lean on me.”
And this is not just something that I, the Pastor, say. In fact, today’s generation looks at me with skepticism and responds politely, “Thanks Pastor Lane, but aren’t you paid to say those kind of things?” No, this is something that all adults have to be willing to say as well for a church to fulfill its calling. We have to be willing to journey with your children and youth. And this can be messy. It takes time. It requires commitment.
From Sunday May 27 message from Luke 18:15-17 entitled, “The Kingdom’s Pride and Joy”
 
Rev. Lane Glaze
Pastor, Waters Edge UMC
Lady’s Island, SC

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