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Teaching Our Parents Well

Teaching Our Parents Well

Mark 10: 13-16

13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ 16And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

One of the remarkable things about JMPC is the number of baptisms we perform.

Not long ago it seemed we were baptizing someone every Sunday.

And there are more to come!

This is what we are called to do!

Baptizing children as a sign they are God’s own.

And when we do we also make a promise as a congregation.

During the baptism ceremony, we answer this question and make this affirmation:

Do you, as members of the church of Jesus Christ,  promise to guide and nurture this child by word and deed, with love and prayer, encouraging  them to know and follow Christ and to be faithful  members of his church?

In response we say “We do!”

This is our response to the commission Jesus gave to us that we make disciples of our children by baptizing them and teaching them all Jesus taught us.

We respond as a community because we do this as a community.

In the Presbyterian Church (USA) we do not have “godparents”.

That is because we are all godparents who by word and deed, with love and prayer, encouraging any children who come to us to know and follow Christ and to be faithful  members of his church.

The entire congregation is charged with raising the child in the faith and teaching the child all that the child should know to live life the Jesus way.

That is quite a lot of teaching.

We teach our children that it is good to be a disciple of Jesus.

We teach our children how to be a disciple of Jesus.

We teach our children the Bible stories.

We teach our children the Ten Commandments.

We teach our children the Lord’s Prayer.

We teach our children the Apostles’ Creed.

We teach our children how to live the Jesus way.

That is what we do in Sunday school, Creation Station, Kids Club, Youth Group, Vacation Bible School and Confirmation.

We do it well as you can see from the kids leading worship this morning.

That is why we celebrate youth Sunday.

Not just these kids.

But the kids who come up for the children’s message and the kids who sing in the Carol and Spirit of Joy choirs.

The kids who perform in the Christmas pageant.

The kids who come for the Easter Egg  hunt.

The kids who bring us joy every time we see them here at the church.

And then, with God’s help, our children come before us and publically proclaim the faith we promised to pass on to them.

And so we also celebrate Confirmation Sunday today.

And what I find particularly awesome about JMPC is that we include all children who come to us, whenever they come to us, however they come to us.

A birth or at confirmation.

Children with a long  history of family membership or no history of family membership.

And when we do this, we teach a lesson that Jesus taught his disciples in today’s scripture.

You want to find Jesus?

You are all welcome here.

When they come, it is always a glorious day!

Today is such a glorious day.

We confirm:







These are the children who have come to us to learn about Jesus, confirm their faith, and become part of our faith community.

And today is also Pentecost.

What a great day to celebrate youth and the faith confessions of these new disciples.

Pentecost is the day the Holy Spirit arrived, empowered the disciples to proclaim their faith, and resulted in 3,000 people joining the ranks of Jesus’ followers.

And the message those new folks heard was a simple one.

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.

Or, as the disciples put it, Jesus is Lord and whoever calls on his name will be saved.

These are the things these young people confess today.

A simple faith that is enough.

How do I know?

Our scripture reading confirms it.

Jesus tells us we should:

‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.

Jesus tells the disciples to bring the children to him because the Kingdom of God belongs to them.

Why is the Kingdom of God theirs already?

Two reasons.

First because they believe what we adults find difficult.

Their faith is simple.



They believe the first Christian song they learn.

Jesus loves me this I know,

For the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to him belong,

They are weak but he is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me,

Yes, Jesus loves me,

Yes, Jesus loves me,

The Bible tells me so.

And you know what?

It is just that simple.

Jesus loves us.


And such simple faith is powerful.

But as we grow older the simple message of that childhood song gets pushed out.

We make faith too complicated.

Rachel Held Evans describes it this way in her book Searching for Sunday.

Mine is a stubborn and recalcitrant faith. Its all elbows and motion and kicked up dust like cartoon characters in a cloudy brawl. I am still early in my journey, but I suspect it will go on like this for a while, perhaps until my last breath.

That is what happens when we try to make sense of God with our puny human brains.

The Christian Rock group Jars of Clay put it this way in their song “Like a Child” which is actually a prayer:

Dear God, surround me as I speak,
the bridges that I walk across are weak
Frustrations fill the void that I can’t solely bear
Dear God, don’t let me fall apart,
you’ve held me close to you
I have turned away and searched for answers I can’t understand

They say that love can heal the broken
They say that hope can make you see
They say that faith can find a Savior
If you would follow and believe
with faith like a child.


Jesus wants a more child-like faith:

15Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’

We need to remember the basics and stop making entry into the Kingdom of God sound harder than it is.

But then there is the second reason the Kingdom of God belongs to children.

Children are an example of how radical Jesus’ love for us is.

We need a bit of context.

The disciples thought that Jesus and his Kingdom needed gate keepers.

Gatekeepers to the unworthy out.

Like children.

Kids in Jesus day were the least of the least.

They were powerless and helpless.

They were completely dependent on their families for everything.

They offered nothing.

But Jesus scolds the disciples and tells them that anyone who keeps “such as these” away from Jesus is a stumbling block to Jesus simple message.

Jesus says they are who the Kingdom of God belongs to.

God’s image bearers totally dependent on God for everything.

Who have nothing to offer but faith and love.

You want in?

Act like a child.

There are no caveats.

No specifications.

No entrance requirements.

No tryouts.

Jesus just loves his children.

Just as they are.

Whenever they show up.

However they show up.

Wherever they are.

No matter what.

Jesus loves us.

That is the message we need to teach.

That is the message we need to learn.

And that is enough.

Have these eight confirmands gotten that message?



… Jesus is considered to be the man who died on the cross and helps us out if we are feeling down, in need of luck, and aids and protects us if we are in trouble. … [A] church is a … faithful place is a home for the remembered, for Jesus Christ himself, and for everyone to join the way of God.

Thank you Joseph.

I believe that God is the ultimate provider. Everything we see God provided us with.[Jesus] was God’s living will and love. … The church is a way for people to come together to return God’s love. … The Holy Spirit is how Jesus’s lessons and God’s love live inside us.

Thank you Hannah.

I believe in God who guides me through my life. When I am having rough times in my life I turn to God and he assures me that everything will be okay.  … Being in church helps me know that God is always with and I can turn to him any time I need him.

Thank you Grace.

Jesus showed me how I should live my life. I learned to give, share, and devote yourself to what you believe in. … I think that we should be thankful and follow his ways.  … I think that at a church people should feel welcome, like I do at my church. They should have open arms to anyone, no matter who they are.

Thank you Josie.

God has helped me through my life by giving me the instinct to choose the right choice. God has also guided … me in my life when I was having problems or facing troubles with no idea how to find a solution. … I believe that Jesus still helps people through their struggles today. … I also believe that the Church is a friendly place where everyone is welcomed to praise the Lord.  

Thank you Sommer.

God is the great Almighty Father. He is the one that I can look up to in good and bad times and in those times, he understands me.   … Jesus is also a great person who I can look up to as I grow.   … When I go to church I believe that we need to respect ourselves, other people, and the Almighty Father.

Thank you Wesley.

These six get it.

Jesus loves us and cares for us whether we really understand it all or not.

And he wants us to love him and love each other the same way.

Such faith, Jesus proclaims, is better than any systematic theology.

Such faith draws us in to the Kingdom of God.

So we can learn a lot from these children.

It’s all about love.

We are loved.

And we love back.

It is that simple.

And it is enough.

How do I know?

The Bible tells me so.

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