The big news is that we are changing the day for Messy Church.
Messy Church is now the second Friday of the month and that means that the next Messy Church is Friday, March 9. Since most people don’t arrive to 5:30 we will be changing the time to 5:30 – 7:30.
Families are busy with many activities happening during the week. Friday is often a slower day.
What a nice way to end the week, quality family time together and a meal that someone else prepares. (This month we will be having pizza as many of our kitchen team are away.)
I hope that this change works for you and your family.
The theme for this Messy Church is Jesus and the Little Children.
Our story this month is from Mark 10:13-16.
Mothers were bringing their children to Jesus so that he could touch them. The disciples sternly told them to go away. When Jesus saw what was happening he was indignant and told his disciples that the little ones were to come to him. He said that it was “such as these to whom the kingdom of heaven belongs”. He told the disciples that to enter the kingdom of God you must receive it like a little child. He then took the children in his arms and blessed them.
Although the Bible does not change (new translations of the ancient texts do change the nuance of our English words though) the understanding of the texts is on- going. God reveals new insights and understandings as we personally mature, and mature as a people of God. With this maturity, comes the ability for deeper understanding. This passage is a great example of this. It was thought for a long time that when Jesus said, “for it is such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs” that he was focusing on a child’s receptiveness. It was a child’s obedience, innocence and their openness to being dependent on others care and generosity that allowed them to receive the kingdom of God. Another understanding of this passage has taken it in another direction recently.
“To be a follower of Jesus was not about glory and honour and power but about taking up powerlessness and vulnerability.”
In Jesus’ time it was not the child that was important, it was their potential that was of value, that they would carry on the family name and provide for their parents in their old age, They were expected to work and contribute to the household. There was no scheduled time for play and even the toys were designed to train them for their adult roles. Children were the lowest in both family and social structures. Society had little care or concern for children. Like widows, the poor and the infirm, children, had no social status. They lived at the margins of society, much like the homeless of today. Children were the lowest in both family and social structures. They were vulnerable which made them easily exploited and dominated. What Jesus was inviting the disciples into was a new understanding of family and society where the lowest in society become the model for being a follower of Jesus. To be a follower of Jesus was not about glory and honour and power but about taking up powerlessness and vulnerability. The disciples, who at time argued among themselves who was the greatest in the group, needed to hear this, to be open to new ways of understanding.
When Jesus took the children into his arms he was demonstrating to his disciples and to us that by embracing a little vulnerable child, we are welcoming Jesus and receiving the kingdom. We both receive a gift, the kingdom and, as members of the kingdom we are called to responsible action.