By Amanda Highben
“Ask yourselves, young people, about the love of Christ. Acknowledge his voice resounding in the temple of your heart. Return his bright and penetrating glance, which opens the paths of your life to the horizons of the Church’s mission. It is a taxing mission, today more than ever, to teach people the truth about themselves, about their end, their destiny, and to show faithful souls the unspeakable riches of the love of Christ. Do not be afraid of the radicalness of God’s demands, because Jesus, who loved us first, is prepared to give himself to you, as well as asking of you. If he asks much of you, it is because he knows you can give much.”
-Pope John Paul II, The Meaning of Vocation
On Rally Day, September 7, we celebrated a Children’s Sabbath worship service. Our children and youth shared in worship leadership and our lessons and prayers for the day reflected the theme of the God–given gift we have in our youngest disciples. And though they are young and still growing in their faith-just as we are as adults-they, like us, are called and equipped to live as Christ’s hands and feet in God’s world. This is why Pope John Paul’s words above are so powerful as they acknowledge that the “radicalness of God’s demands” are for young people too-not because of any special strength or energy on their part, but because “Jesus, who loved us first, is prepared to give himself” to our children and youth and, in fact, already has in their baptisms.
As I said in my sermon on September 7, when we welcome a newly baptized ch ild into our midst we say these words: “We welcome you into the body of Christ and into the mission we share: join us in giving thanks and praise to God and bearing God’s creative and redeeming word to all the world.” It’s incredible, really, that we say such words, that we believe that a child who can‘t yet speak or walk or feed herself is welcomed as our equal, as a disciple and instrument of Christ, God’s Word made flesh.
Age is no barrier to discipleship, though the wisdom and experience of faithful adults can make all the difference in the life of a child. With this in mind, as I wrote about in the September Chimes, we are hoping to begin a “prayer pal” ministry for our Amazing Grace and St. John’s children. Adults who become pals with our AG children will send postcards to them once per month. Each postcard will be designed, addressed and stamped in advance for you; however pals are encouraged to add their own personal notes. Postcards will be different each month and serve unique purposes, such as inviting children to special events, like Trunk or Treat, or sending greetings and prayers at Christmas and Easter.
Then, for our own St. John’s children, the Learning Team is setting-up special mailboxes-one for each child: kindergarten through high school seniors-so that assigned prayer pals throughout the year might leave cards, prayers, notes, and (if they so choose) occasional small gifts. We are quite sure that the children (and even our older youth) will look forward to receiving their “mail” and will know, as a result, just how much they are valued and loved by their church family.
If you would like to become a prayer pal or have any questions, please be in touch with Learning Team Chair Mari Frick or Vicar Amanda.
Please prayerfully discern if God might be calling you to serve in this unique way. Remember, this isn’t a complicated or time-consuming ministry, but it is one that is sacred and full of joy, for when we welcome a child, we welcome Christ himself.