Wednesday, November 19, 2014

A Thought for Wednesday 19 November 2014

In a prayer of thanksgiving for the birth of a baby in our congregation yesterday, I remembered a story I had run across shortly after the birth of my own granddaughter. 

“When Israel stood to receive the Torah, the Holy One said to them: "I am prepared to give you My Torah. Present to Me good guarantors that you will observe and study the Torah, and I shall give it to you."  The people responded: "Our ancestors are our guarantors."
The Holy One said: "Your ancestors are not sufficient guarantors. Bring Me good guarantors, and I shall give you the Torah."  To which the people responded: "Our prophets are our guarantors."
The Holy One said: "The prophets are not sufficient guarantors. Bring Me Good guarantors and I shall give you the Torah."  Finally the people replied: "Indeed, our children will be our guarantors."  The Lord said, "Your children are good guarantors. For their sake I give the Torah to you."
The world is not going to teach our children about The Lord and His eternal Word.  In fact it can be said that our failure to teach our children, our refusal to bring our children to Sunday school so they may learn about The Lord and His Body the Church, and teach them how and why to participate in worship is nothing more than to create a void left open and unprotected.  It means that for everything we do not teach our children, there is more the world will gladly teach them.
We need only to look around and see what this spiritual void has created: a drug- and alcohol-induced spiritual stupor, an empty space into which instant gratification is demanded, a generation walking away from the Church because the Church does not cater to their whims, children giving birth to children, and infanticide (abortion) with its false promises of a new start into a better life.  There is a generation completely lost because parents AND the Church have failed to recognize the importance of children in the life of the Church; that they are truly the “guarantors” of the Holy Word, the Word which is entrusted to us for their sakes.
We lament that these children need to grow up, but the truth is we adults have an awful lot of growing up to do before we can begin to teach them what they need to know.  As it is written, “Do not forsake the assembling of ourselves together” in worship and in discipleship development studies (Sunday school and other small groups) and prayer groups.  If we neglect this task, so will our children; and we will be held accountable in the Day of the Lord.  Our children cannot be taught to love something they know nothing about.
It is long past time to “grow up”.  It is past time to stop giving our children the excuses they demand to “forsake the assembly”, and it is long past time that we stop raising our children in a spiritual void.  We neglect our children’s spiritual development and Christian educational needs at great risk.  Especially at this time of year, it is too easy to see that our children know more about Santa Claus than they do about Jesus Christ – assuming they know Jesus at all.  Shame on us.
It is never too late to turn back to The Lord, and it is never too late to teach our children about The Lord.  Do not, however, make the mistake of believing any one of us can do it alone.  It is a task too big to be taken for granted, and it is too spiritually shallow to believe it will just “happen” in such a great void.  It won’t.
“Allow the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them; for the Kingdom belongs to such as these.” 


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