Luke 18:16 – But Jesus called the children to him and said, "Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (GNB)
On a Friday evening early in May, my husband and I attended an ordination and induction service at a local Presbyterian Church. It was a special occasion for everyone concerned, because a young woman, who grew up within the Presbyterian Church in Canada here in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, was the one being ordained. The church was packed with family, friends, and members of the two congregations involved, along with clergy and elders from the Presbytery, who participated in the service. What a delight it was to see the young woman's mother, who was a friend to many of us and also the moderator of the Presbytery, participate in her daughter's ordination.
It was especially fitting that children were included in the service, since church youth groups, church activities, and church camps provided formative experiences for the young woman being ordained. When a small but enthusiastic children's group joyfully sang and played "Walk With Me", I found it a particularly moving and meaningful moment, and others I talked to after the service felt exactly the same way.
The children remained present while Donna was ordained and inducted. They were witnesses as she took her vows. The girls were particularly interested in what was happening. Perhaps one or more of these children will become ministers when they grow up. I am certain that this moment will be etched on their minds as they contemplate their own futures in the church.
Let us endeavour to follow Jesus' example and always welcome and encourage children within the church. Let us continue not only to minister to children, but also to give children and youth opportunities to minister to us as well.
Prayer: Loving God, we give you praise and thanks that you raise up servants to be your ministers of word and sacrament. Help us to provide opportunities for all children to participate more fully in the church. Make us ever mindful that you alone know what plans that you have made for these children in the future. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.