Monday, March 29, 2004

The Kingdom Belongs to Such as These
Kids. Soon I'll have two of them. At our Gathering last night, we had around 20 pre-schoolers in with the adults. It was cool in a way. I'm proud & excited that we are flexible and mature enough to be able to have our kids in with us. Tori and others danced in the back. I wondered if God was using them to teach us how to express ourselves to Him.

But I was also deeply troubled. Why do we, the 80 or so adults in the room, and especially we, the parents among the 80, feel normal about doing an adult program for ourselves and asking our kids to just sit there and play along? Why do we (especially us parents) not automatically think that we should instead do something meaningful for the kids and make the adults sit there and play along? I began to fear that we are (or at least I am) basically self-focused people who, in a spiritual sense, would rather sit and eat a hearty meal while our kids sit next to us and nearly starve. If this really were a food analogy, wouldn't we feed our kids first and then hope for leftovers for ourselves?

Of course, we could justify ourselves by saying that our kids are well-fed by sitting and watching us eat, perhaps scavenging a few of the crumbs that we spill. I hope that is true. But I have a haunting fear that we are way off base. When we meet (be it in a house or in a Lutheran sanctuary), could we really use our time in any better way than to invest in our kids? To teach them the things we have been taught? To instill in them a sense of wonder for Father? To allow them to find genuine community? To serve them? Now that I'm 33 years old, can I push my plate away long enough to feed five-year-olds? Do I need to gain another 100 spiritual pounds before I am able to be more of a feeder than an eater?

Father, have mercy on us.


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