God has blessed us and continues to bless us here at Trinity in many ways. In particular, we see Godís blessing to us in the many children in our midst. Many of you have several young children, and all the indicators are that this will only continue and increase. But this means that many of you have the challenge of teaching young children how to worship with us, how to join in with us on the Lordís Day. And this really is a challenge, and I want to suggest several principles for thinking about how we cultivate our families. First, we need to remember our childrenís frames. A six month old and a two year old and a five year old will all be at different places, and even among those broad categories it is simply a fact that God has made all of our children differently. There will be amazing two year olds that can sit still for an hour, and there will sometimes be older children that must still work at it. Remember their frame. But this doesnít mean you just show up every Sunday and just ďsee what happens.Ē God does not require of us what he does not also at the same time give to us. When God calls us to obey him, he also always gives us the grace to obey him. This means that if you expect your children to behave in a certain way on Sunday you must give them that grace. You must be blessing them with that training throughout the week. Secondly, remember that God loves your children. Your children belong first of all to Him. He has claimed them in baptism, and he is not embarrassed by them. He is not embarrassed by their cries; He is not annoyed by their childishness and immaturity. He still welcomes them into his arms, snotty noses, crying, and fidgeting. He loves them. He has invited them. He delights in them. And therefore so should you. Of course if your child is being obnoxiously distracting, help them calm down, but we really donít want to cultivate a community of stuffy pietism. Moms, you in particular need to remember not to worry about what people are thinking about your children. Your job is to love your kids. Love them, delight in them, rejoice over them, serve them, and care for them, but do it all without worry or fear that someone is silently judging your mothering skills. And of course Dads need to be all over this too. Particularly when the kids are very young, Mom is under great demand. Make sure she knows that you appreciate her, you love her, respect her, and admire how she gives and gives and gives. And remember in all of this that we are all the children of God. We may not be tempted to cry out or be distracting, but we are all no less tempted to be distracted. So I call all you to attention now, come and worship, the Lord invites you warmly, and despite your immaturity, despite your fidgeting, despite your wandering minds, he invites you and he says come and welcome.
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