My sermon outline from Sunday. It was great to see the morning meeting packed out ... and I don't think I said any too dumb when interviewed by Radio Berkshire.
Read Mark 10v13-16
A hint of our today - For a short time, albeit unknowingly to those involved, this crowd became a picture of our today, a group with Jesus in its midst, with Jesus as it’s central focus. Yet Jesus’ disciples tried to keep the children away (presumable they could sense Jesus’ anguish as he anticipated the cross and they tried to protect him?). But it was ‘at such a time as this’ that Jesus made time for the children. He was the kind of person who cared for children, and the type of person children cared for. He must have smiled easily and laughed joyously. Kids like that. It has been said that “We are not to believe in a man’s Christianity if the children are never to be found playing around his door”. And so for the briefest of moments, this 'hint of our today' formed and then dispersed, having had their children blessed by Jesus’ unmerited favour.
Parenting is hard - Parents know all too well the value of support from networks of people (family, friends, special needs groups). All of these networks can offer real & valuable support in areas of raising their children. But there is one community that is unique in its holistic scope and approach … the community of people who are Jesus centred, the church. When people focus their attention off activities or situations for its sense of identity and onto the God/Man Jesus, everything changes. When Jesus is the central focus of a community, Children are highly treasured & valued but they aren’t central to family life, Jesus is. Parenting is hard but being part of a Jesus centred community that can support and learn from one another in all areas of life can be a real asset and a gift from God to us.
God’s grace - Jesus freely took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. There is no mention of any sort of qualification; Jesus blessed them on the basis of His willingness to give and their willingness to receive. They received that blessing in their weakness, helplessness and trust. So it must be for those who follow Jesus. We can’t earn or deserve or merit access into the kingdom of God, we can only accept it as a free gift from God, through our faith in Jesus. God’s grace is sufficient to meet all our needs, just as it is sufficient for us to trust in his Son Jesus for us to belong in the kingdom of God.