Children in Church

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Psalm 95
1O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!
2Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!
3For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.
5The sea is his, for he made it, and the dry land, which his hands have formed.
6O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!

The changing face of marriage

I often hear that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce.  Then I hear that number is not right and actually the divorce rate is falling for marriages since the 1990s.  Then something else is blamed.  Then another thing is blamed.  Then we stand around pointing fingers.  But what if marriage has changed?

A sociologist interviewed by the Times connects the rise in divorce to women’s changing expectations, and the decline to men’s adaptation. It used to be that women needed marriage. A husband meant compliance with cultural norms, financial stability, the ability to have sex and children without social censure.

It’s not that way anymore. As effective contraception has become available, and women’s economic power has grown, the nature of marriage has changed from a partnership with distinct and defined roles to a give-and-take between equals, something, the Times’ sociologist says, we’ve now figured out.

I so resonate with the phrase “changed from a partnership with distinct and defined roles to a give-and-take between equals.  I posted a meme on facebook the other day and lamented how so many well-meaning “senior saints” wonder if the kids and I will be fed if Rachel (my wife) is sick or out of town.  I’ve actually had to get Rachel to tell a person that “yes, Matt does most of the cooking in our home.”

I don’t think this is a bad change from well defined roles to a give-and-take between equals.  But it is a change and it is one more thing we have to negotiate between the generations and in our society in general.  How many of our institutions still assume a stay at home mom?  What happens when it is a stay at home dad?  What happens when both partners make sacrifices to career for the sake of the family?

There is still a lot of ground to cover for us as we figure out what all this means.  I’ve been wrestling lately about what this means for the church.  We continue to see God up to new things in God’s creation.  Marriage is just one of those things.  How can we as the people of God support families as they negotiate their partnership in the midst of a world that just isn’t set up to support them?  How does Grace fit into all this?  Can forgiveness be the gift we bring to the table as the Church?

Lots of questions this morning.  If I had the answers, Rachel and I would be on the lecture circuit.  😀

Meet a Saint Today

In Matthew 19 the disciples were trying to keep the little children away from Jesus.  The disciples didn’t want Jesus distracted with little people outside his generation.  Jesus reaction is recorded in Matthew 19:14

Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.

Our society is heavily segregated by age:

It is possible, today, for a middle-aged office worker to go to sleep on a Friday having interacted all week with not one person more than a decade older or younger; the same could well be true for her daughter in college, or her parents living at Pleasant Oaks Village. According to one study, Americans over 60 said that only a quarter of the people they had discussed “important matters” with during a six-month period were younger than 36; if they didn’t count relatives, the number dropped to an astonishing 6 percent.

The Church is probably the last place in the United States where young and old might actually interact with each other.  And what do we do?  We try to follow the world’s example and leave the interaction to the “professionals:” pastor, youth pastor, Sunday School teachers, etc.

So what happens when we mix across age/generational lines.  We share faith with one another.  We share life with one another.  We share Jesus with one another:

Studies have shown that seniors in retirement homes benefit when they spend time reading to children and playing with them, while young people are given the chance to absorb wisdom and life experience.

I encourage you to read the whole article.  There is a place for us to interact with peers of our own age and life experience.  But God’s Kingdom calls us to break through the barriers that separate us.

God has given each of us gifts in the Communion of Saints.  You are a Saint in God’s Kingdom no matter what generation you belong.  The person from another generation is also a Saint in God’s Kingdom.  Go meet a Saint today.

Last Night She Couldn’t Sleep…

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So my daughter, Elizabeth, wrote a poem:

As little kids,
You could be…
Black,
White,
Purple with Pink Polk-a-dots,
And no one cared.
In Elementary School,
You could be…
Who you want,
Yourself,
Your favorite person,
And no one cared.
In Middle School,
You have to be…
Pretty,
“Cool”,
Smart,
Just to fit in.
In High School,
You have to…
Get good grades,
Be smart,
Know what you want,
Just to belong.
As an Adult,
You have to be…
Productive,
Prepared,
Successful,
Just to get by.
What happened to
Not caring if you are…
Black,
White,
Purple with Pink Polk-a-dots?
Let’s go back and
Not care about…
Race,
Gender,
or Age,
Let’s Just Be…
WHO WE ARE!!!!!!!!!!

Vocation

Cheryl Amrine award

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11

God calls each of us to a vocation and gives us gifts to fulfill that vocation. Cheryl Amrine uses her God given gift of teaching children. Mrs. Amrine is featured in Southwest Washington Family because of the nomination of one of her students. Congratulations Mrs. Amrine!