A few weeks ago, I attended Sunday worship at Carmel UMC where the Rev. Patti Napier preached an excellent sermon, and the music and hospitality were deeply touching. What struck me, though, was when the children were invited to come forth for the children's sermon before departing for Sunday School or the nursery room, they came with joy.
You know how you see things that are familiar, but sometimes we discover something more, or maybe God pronounces something for you to see? When the children came there were so many that a few parents had to come and help oversee the crowd.
Here is what I saw as I worshiped: Children who were loved and being loved by their church and families. Children with untainted views about the goodness of the world and the love of God expressed in Christian community. Children too young and too innocent to be burdened or confused about politics, prejudice, passive or aggressive predictions of the demise of The United Methodist Church. Children who like to smile, play, sing, and just be part of a family where love is not in short ration and children are obviously important.
My wife and I are in the “in-between” stage of life. Where our three children are young adults, and we are eagerly awaiting marriages and the grandchildren that will follow. We believe that children were not born to sit still, but to point us to the glory of God who echoes love throughout the ages as Jesus invites the children to come near and not be hindered.
The decisions we make as the Church and a society should always keep the children in mind. Will this decision we make or actions we take give God glory and bless the children of today and tomorrow?
I wrote this article while in Nashville, Tennessee as I attended the organizing meeting of the United Methodist Division on Ministry With Young People. DMYP is a part of the General Board of Discipleship now known as Discipleship Ministries.
This is one of the most diverse groups of gifted young Christians I have ever met, United Methodist youth and young adults, ages 16 to 30. Young people from all over the world — Austria, Hungary, Philippines, Mozambique, Denmark, Kenya, Sierra Leone, Dominican Republic of Congo, and various regions of the United States. These young people are planning ways to share the love of Jesus and make disciples together as we connect with churches and conferences across the globe.
The church is at its best when we focus on what brings us together and prepares us to share the love of Jesus to a hurting and hungry world.
This gathering was an eye-opening Glory Sighting for me! Youth and young adults with a passion for reaching others for the cause of Christ.
Indiana United Methodists pay attention for Glory Sightings. They are all around us.
“Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Tell of his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples.”
– I Chronicles 16:23-24 (NSRV)
Bishop Julius Calvin Trimble