Young Johnny was greeted by his friend Tommy as he entered the school yard. “Johnny, who’s that?” Tommy asked, pointing to a little girl and her mother walking along behind Johnny. “Oh, that’s little Mercy Goodness,” he told his friend, “and her mom, Shirley.” “Do you know them?” Tommy asked. “No, not really” came the reply. “But how do you know their names?” asked Tommy. “Well,” Johnny said, “my mom says a prayer every day when I leave the house, and she says, ‘Shirley Goodness and Mercy will follow you all the days of your life.’”
Sometimes children have a hard time understanding the “grown-up” words they hear at home, church or school. There are many kids’ bloopers, like the little girl who said the name of her favorite hymn was “Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear.” Or the little boy who was told the plaques in the narthex were in memory of people who had died in the service, and the child asked, “Which one? The early service or the late service?” How about the youngster reciting the Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father Who art in heaven, how do you know my name?” And our own pastor recently talked about how God is everywhere, and then asked, “Where is God now?” One child blurted out enthusiastically, “I think He might be in Ohio!”
This past Sunday, the youth at our church conducted the entire service. I was honored to accompany them on the drums, playing with other adult musicians as those kids sang their hearts out and led the congregation in song and liturgy. There may have been a few words mispronounced in the Scripture, or a couple of lines missed in the script, but it filled me with joy to see all these young people to whom the torch will soon be passed to continue the work of the church. Little ones amuse us, but they also amaze us in the way they embrace God’s joy and the work He asks us to do. If you have any little ones in your life, remember to tell them you appreciate them, and remind them that God does too.
Father of Young and Old, help our youth to embrace Your wonderful ways and to live out their lives in service to You. Amen