Reflection for the Week
8th April 2018
This Lent and Easter I’ve been reminded about the amazing faith of children.
We’ve been told by various media recently, just how few young people describe themselves as having a faith in God.
So, what goes wrong?
At Longcauseway Church with 140 children (aged around 10) from local Junior Schools, using the Scripture Union’s Re:wind Easter materials, the children were engaged and inquisitive.
“This is awesome” one girl told me
Another gave her ‘workbook’ back to her church volunteer group leader in great haste because she wanted to make sure she could sit at the front to listen, because it was brilliant.
I asked if anyone knew what an Easter Egg represents and a child piped up “It represents the empty tomb, because when you crack it open it’s empty”... That was the morning session with a group of 50 children from two schools... the same happened in the afternoon with 90 children from a different school.
“Who knows what this is?” I asked, holding up a picture of bread and wine. “It’s bread and wine... bread for the body of Jesus, and wine for his blood” came a quick answer..
A 6-year-old boy came home from school with an Easter card for his parents. On the front was a colourful picture of a basket of flowers. Inside, with his greeting, was a small pencil drawing of Jesus on the cross. Jesus’ eyes were ‘x’s’. Mum asked “Why have you given Jesus ‘x’s’ for eyes?”. “They’re not ‘x’s’” he replied “they’re kisses; because Jesus died with love in his eyes”.
Last summer with a group of children from another local School we ran a Spirituality Day. Engaged in an activity with about six 10-year-olds, one of the children told the others “Put your hand up if you believe in God”. All six hands shot straight up and another child commented “Of course I do... why wouldn’t you!”
At one of our Church’s Pilots groups I was telling the story of Jonah. I told the children that Jonah thought he could run away from God, so he paid for his ticket and boarded a ship. One of our 6-year-olds blurted out “What was wrong with him? Was he nuts or something? Didn’t he know that you can’t run away from God... There must have been something wrong with him, you can’t run away from God!”... All this understanding through coming to Pilots each week, and the 15 minutes or so of Christian input we make, week by week. This is his ‘church’ and where he’s learning about the almighty love of God.
So, what goes wrong? We’re full of criticism that Christianity isn’t being taught in school; but is it? But I meet children with some good knowledge.
And just maybe the ‘problem’ is not that of our children and young people, but ours for shying away from them with messages of faith.
“For the Spirit that God has given us does not make us timid; instead, his Spirit fills us with power, love and self-control”. (2 Timothy 1: 7 GNB)
Revd. Janine Atkinson.