Children begin asking questions about faith at an early age. Three year olds wonder if Jesus ever got time-out. Six year olds ask, “If God made everything, who made God?” (I remember stumping my own first grade Sunday school teacher with that one.) Nine year olds might wonder how in the world polar bears and penguins managed to get from the Arctic Circle to the Fertile Crescent. The questions get tougher as the children get older. They have begun learning about bad things in the world and they wonder how a loving God can allow such injustices.
These questions are hard–often impossible–to answer. But at church, we do our best to create an environment where kids can keep asking and thereby keep increasing in wisdom just as Jesus did. Typically, despite how inadequate we adults feel about our responses, by the end of elementary school and the beginning of middle school, most kids who have been raised in church have formed the fundamentals of faith that they will carry with them throughout life.
Think about it. How many times have we adults leaned into those basics that sustained us as children? We relax in the knowledge that God loves us even when we are disobedient. We still don’t understand the logistics of the Genesis stories, but we no longer need to; we trust the truths they teach us. And when we find ourselves distracted by life’s injustices, we remember, “Jesus loves the little children, all the little children of the world.”It’s these truths we trust. It’s the messages of VBS and Sunday school, of discipleship training and children’s sermons that we build upon as our faith deepens and our love for God grows.
When Jesus was a little boy, he himself learned about God in community with other believers in the local house of worship. Today’s kids have many distractions, many interests vying for their attention. None of them–none of us–have time for anything but our priorities. So we really must ask ourselves, “What is more important than the truths that God has given us in Holy Scripture? What is more important than church?”
Even with snow on the ground, I’ll be at church tomorrow morning. Will you?
And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. Luke 2:51-52