Should children be Seen and Not Heard in Church?
I have chosen my wording deliberately ‘seen and not heard’. We are encouraged, no charged as Christians to bring our children to church with us, to introduce them to our Christian beliefs and the body of believers.
Yet once there what are our expectations of them?
|A place created for quiet play within the Chapel|
If we want to see children sitting our churches, growing both physically and spiritually among us does this mean that they must be silent as well?
In Matthew 19:14 we hear the voice of Jesus say “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
If heaven is made of children why is it that we silence them?
|Play as part of the Church Service|
How can we expect them to be other than children?
During a period of silent reflection in church recently a three year old member of our Christian community yet go with a joyful scream. We the adult believers snickered, smiled and remained silent. The parent of this child embarrassed quickly picked him up and left the chapel.
The irony was we were to be silently contemplating the Creators yearning to take our doubts and worries away from us – does that not deserve joyful praise?!
What is it that the sounds of play, crying, laughing and questioning interrupts?
It certainly cannot be the Creators ability to be in communion with us, no I believe that it interrupts our human expectations of reverence and respect and has nothing to do with praise and worship.
If there isn’t room within our worship for the genuineness of children, is there room for the spontaneous appearance of our Creator?
I am not referring to the sounds of playground antics. I am describing the sounds of children being present in our services:
- Infants will babble and cry
- Toddlers will play with the toys we provide them so don’t bring noisy toys
- School aged children will colour, play and talk quietly with each other and parents
- Teenager will talk quietly with each other
If the Christian church is to survive the next 100 years we need to open ourselves to the sound of children in our services and maybe just maybe learn from them.
…for of such is the kingdom of heaven.