I’d like to give a shout out to those who led the Children’s Sermons during the worship services over the past month or so when I was unable to do so. This includes: Dan Hampson, Jim Sugrue, Jennifer Gillette, Glenda Amirault, Laura Pollica, Jaime McCallister-Grande, and Sherri Jackson. All of them did an outstanding job!
Leading a Children’s Sermon is not necessarily an easy thing. In fact, many clergy will tell you that when it comes to Sunday liturgy preparation, it can be the most challenging thing. Why? Because there are so many variables.
How many children will be there? Will ANY be there? Will they listen quietly or will they be hyped up and try to talk over you? What if you pose a question and no one answers? What if you pose a question and everybody answers? And what if the answers are completely off topic but important to the children? What if they just don’t get what you are trying to say?
Yes, the main sermon can be much more straightforward!
Personally, I LOVE sharing the Children’s Sermon. It gives me a chance (sometimes my only chance) to connect with the kids in our church and get to know them. Sure, sometimes these talks go well and sometimes they don’t but on the whole I trust that this time spent with them validates their wonderings and deepens their faith.
Children’s sermons are also important because they remind me that it is vital to keep things simple. Yes, life is complicated but the heart of our faith isn’t. It is, in the end, love. God’s love. That’s it.
There is a myriad of ways that the love of God finds expression, but ultimately we are all beneficiaries of the two “Big C’s” from God: Comfort and Calling. Children’s sermons swing between those two points on the same pendulum.
The children of our church are our youngest parishioners. The Children’s Sermon is vital because, for these parishioners, the rest of the liturgy tends to sail right over their heads. No one should be constantly trying to understand what is happening in church. The Children’s Sermon is a time when they don’t have to do that. This time is for them—at their level.
Lastly, that said, I am not unaware that adults are listening too! In fact, many adult parishioners comment on how well they have connected to the children’s sermons. I think that’s because there is a kid in all of us and that kid feels recognized during that time in the service even if they aren’t physically sitting there on the floor next to the piano (which, by the way, you are most welcome to do!).
So thank you again to all those who shared Children’s Sermons when I was unable to do so. It was no small thing you did and the kids are better for it!
See you in church,