This week I had the privilege of leading chapel for MECE. This is something that I enjoyed doing early in my ministry, and probably loved it the most when our boys were in preschool when I knew so many of the kids and their parents. But no matter, I have always enjoyed it. I become an animated song leader, playing an airplane when singing “I may never fly o’er the enemy” (I don’t know if being “in the Lord’s army” is a cool thing to sing anymore, but I remember fondly the days we did). I become a happy story teller, trying to keep the attention of each child – which can be challenging when there are 80 of them in the room.
And as a pastor, to see our Sanctuary full of curious little children, willing to listen and learn and imitate, wow, I see why Jesus loved the little children so much, and why He called us to imitate them (He even said we can’t enter the Kingdom of God less we become like them – look it up in Matthew 18:3!). I asked them to repeat after me: “My God is so big, so strong, and so mighty,” and you know what happened? They did! They learned the song!
And when I told them that they could pray, and that God would help them, they listened, and I think believed me. We as adults have had so many things happen to us, we have second-guessed so many graces in our lives, that we don’t fully embrace the idea that a big, strong and mighty God can do anything He wants, and that His will is directed towards our good. But it is.
The children sent me WAY back in nostalgia-land when they showed me the song that they were learning – “If I were a butterfly.” I learned that song in Youth Group (were we singing silly songs in Youth Group, or are we demanding more of our kids? I don’t know). I just smiled as I remembered singing that song on a beach watching the sunset on the Pacific Ocean. I believed then and I believe now that God “gave me a heart, and gave me smile, gave us Christ Jesus and made me a child.” The Truths that I learned in song come back to reassure me, guide me, now 40 some years later.
And that’s what I am praying for with those little boys and girls – that decades from now that song that I taught them, that “God is big and strong and that there’s nothing He can’t do” will ring in their hearts when some dark moment comes their way, and that they will trust Him, and lean on Him, and have them see Him walk them through it.
What song is playing in your heart this morning? What song are you practicing today that might be a “balm in Gilead” for you tomorrow? That’s why we come to church you know? To sing, and learn, and imitate Jesus, just as the children do.
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6