There are many moments in worship that I love, but the ones that bring me the greatest joy are when our youngest children come to share in the service. There’s just this wonderful energy that fills the sanctuary. I loved the excitement last Sunday of seeing the kids reacting to our guests – the Schultz family’s twin goats. I love the innocent, faith filled responses they make to questions asked. Sometimes, I’m overwhelmed by the depth of their passion and their profound understanding of holy things. Once, in a children’s sermon, I talked about the struggles we face and how people get angry and wars result. “What can you do to help?” I asked. One little girl of five cried without hesitation, “Love like Jesus!” That beautiful child understands real power. I think children live just a little closer to God than do we seasoned adults. I love children. I love their innocence. I love their purity. I love their honesty. I love their faith. What great teachers our children are to us. Take for instance, the description a little boy gave of what happens in an elevator. He said, “Well, I got into this little room, shut the door, and when it opened again, the UPSTAIRS had come DOWN!” I love that. It helps me understand a little better what happens during this sacred season of Lent…
It is so easy for me to box myself into this little room I call my world. It’s so easy to think only of my need and what is comfortable for me. It’s so easy to see the frailties in others and point them out there in the basement of my existence. It’s so easy to grow fearful of what lies beyond my little corner, so I keep the door tightly closed to keep out the scary unknown…. But, God is not content to leave me in the cellar. God opens my life to the season of Lent – that blessed time of reflection and prayer over the ministry, teaching, sacrifice, suffering and triumph of Jesus. God brings the UPSTAIRS – the wonder of heaven itself – DOWN to me in life-freeing power. God opens the door of my soul to reveal a love so perfect I’m drawn out of my boxed-in world. God introduces me to a faith that marches to the Cross and death without fear. Suddenly, I find hope. God plants in my heart rich words of promise that call me out of my shallowness and skepticism into the strength of holiness. God lifts me into the presence of the absolute BEST, so I am no longer afraid of the worst. I start out in a little box of self-centeredness and the UPSTAIRS comes DOWN and I can see the world as God wants me to see it – through the love of Jesus. Lent is my elevator…. What is it that people say, “Out of the mouth of babes comes wisdom….” Amen. Enjoy the lift of Lent and remember God loves you so much.