Tuesday, October 28, 2003

random thought from big church

i was sitting at bridgeway sunday morning and this family sitting a few rows in front of us caught my attention. mom was holding this little guy who couldn't have been more than about a year old. she was raising her hands in worship and as i watched, he started to raise his and point up at the sky. he was obviously mimicing what he saw mom doing, but as he did it he was looking up at the ceiling to see what they were pointing to. i've seen things like that several times and it leads me to wonder a couple of things about what we teach our kids about worship as we worship.

how much of what goes on in worship should we explain to our kids? no matter what your tradition or "mode" of worship is, there are things that probably don't make sense to kids. if it is a more "active" worship setting, do they understand why people raise their hands or jump up and down or dance or yell? i wonder what it looks like to them. is it scary? wierd? silly? i see little ones acting out the same things they see mom and dad do and i wonder if it is because they are caught up in God too, or do they just think that is what you are supposed to do when you go to church.
on the other side, what about in a traditional, more restrained setting? do the kids there wonder why no on ever seems to fired up about this amazing God they are hearing about? do we teach them by our action (or lack of it) that God is quiet and boring? it seems like every generation takes the things we teach it and part of it reacts against it and the other part adopts it and magnifies what they have been taught (think about the progression of capitalism and greed over the last 30 years). what is that going to mean for worship in the church in the next generation? should we be explaining the "why?" of our worship to our kids? not just talk about the God that we worship, but help them understand the "mode" of worship that we choose. will that help them be wiser and more "real" about the way they worship, whatever it looks like? seems like a good idea to me.

the other thing it brought to my mind is what my kids are learning from me as they watch me in worship. it seems wierd in a way to be thinking about them when i "should" be focussing everything i have on God, but at the same time, if teaching and training them is my responsibility then shouldn't i be concerned with what they are learning and seeing in that context? so does that mean that i should act in a way that might be contrary to what i have in me at that moment so that they learn the appropriate responses? can't do that. as always, it seem like it comes back to being honest in front of God and my kids and then taking the time to walk with them through questions and issues and thoughts even when they don't bring them up.

i don't want my kids to learn to worship like i do. i want them to learn how to worship like God would have them to. in our very different situations, that should be an interesting ride.

i need to stop looking around so much in church


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