Let Them Come
Hope E. A. Molozaiy
My daughter took her first steps on a Maundy Thursday when she was not quite a year old, in the chancel as I prepared for worship. She’s six now, and while she often sits with church members for worship, sometimes she asks to sit “up front” with Mommy. I explain again that she may, as long as she’s not a distraction to others. She comes into the chancel, with her coloring supplies, her children’s bulletins, and whatever else we’ve brought for our long morning at church. She’s well-intentioned, but as I welcome people to worship, she flops onto her belly and spreads out her markers. As we sing the first song, she takes off her shoes. By the time we reach the children’s sermon, our side of the chancel looks like she’s moved in for a 9-month visit.
While I pray she’s indeed not a distraction, I remember these words of Jesus, welcoming children to him, just as they were, with all their childish tendencies, sticky fingers, and coloring books. I remember the words that my church shares at the start of worship: “No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here.” It’s good news for us all, especially in this season of repentance and renewal: there’s no mess we can make, no stage or phase we can pass through, that will cause God to reject us. May we trust that promise wherever we are in life.
Today, keep your eyes open for younger people (whatever “younger” might mean in your life). As you see them, offer a prayer that they might know that Jesus loves and welcomes them, no matter what.
Hope E. A. Molozaiy is the pastor of The Community Church of Richmond, UCC, in Richmond, IL, and always a mom.
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