The Mysterious Kingdom
The kingdom of God is never quite what we expect. We see this in two rather surprising back-to-back parables in Mark 4.
Kathy Sneller (email@example.com), a preschool teacher and leader for Children and Worship at Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids for twenty years, contributed the children’s ideas.
Sunday morning has arrived. The children are dressed in clean clothes. Once seated in the pew, mom and dad breathe a sigh of relief and worship begins. Or does it? In our attempts to keep the kids quiet, most parents pass out the candy and become adept at the meaningful glance. The result? Kids become skilled not at worship but at daydreaming the hour away. So even though the family can make it through a service of worship, they may not be worshiping God together.
The worship planning team has the mandate to plan services that enfold the whole congregation. However, often our good intentions to include children actually separate them from adults in worship. It may be easy to plan for children by including a children's sermon or a song for kids. A whole Sunday evening might be set aside for a special youth service. But because these activities suggest that the rest of the service is not for them, children can easily learn to feel separate.
It was the season of Lent, the time when all God's people prepare to celebrate the mystery of Easter. Once again a branch stood in our sanctuary, stark and white against the rich oak woodwork. It was supported by a pot filled with heavy stones and covered by a black cloth.