I am back and am full of gratitude for the time you’ve allowed me to heal and rest and prepare for the busy season to come. Special thanks to Rev. Stephanie and the leadership team for their beautiful ministry, particularly during my time of rest.
So! I’m thrilled to return to the pulpit on Sunday and encourage you to join us!
Sunday’s reflection will be on this pivotal passage from the Gospel of Mark. I’ve always read it one way, but in study a few days ago, I heard my brilliant colleague, the Rev. Quinn Caldwell, think of it differently. I’ll share his devotion on this, below.
Inspired by Rev. Quinn, my reflections will be on how God sees our imperfections. (I have lots!)
I look forward to worshiping with you soon!
Scripture:Mark 10:13-16 (Year W):
13 Now people were bringing little children to Jesus in order that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, he was angry and said to them, “Let the little children come to me, do not prevent them; for it is to such as these that the realm of God belongs. 15 Truly I tell you all, whoever does not receive the reign of God as a little child will never enter it.” 16 And Jesus took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
Kids Are Cute, But They’re Terrible
by Quinn Caldwell | published on Sep 24, 2022
Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” – Matthew 19:14 (NRSV)
Everyone wants to know exactly what it is about children that makes them rulers of the kingdom of heaven. Their innocence? Their playfulness? Their powerlessness? Their neotenous features?
Weird that no one ever mentions as possibilities: screaming tantrums. The hitting phase, the biting phase, the kicking phase. The “I won’t eat that; it’s yucky!” phase. Pulling the cat’s tail, pulling the sibling’s hair. The “NO!” phase, the lying phase. The tween nastiness, the teenage need to push the parents away.
I for one would feel much better if that’s the kind of childishness Jesus had in mind, instead of all that cutesy, schmaltzy stuff.
If you get cranky when you don’t get your nap or your snack, the kingdom of heaven belongs to you.
If you’re impulsive and do dumb stuff sometimes, the realm of God is yours.
If you can’t get your body to do what you want, if you run into stuff and fall down a lot, yours is the promised land.
If you lash out sometimes; if you’re sometimes contrary for no apparent reason; if you have big emotions and can only act them out, not describe them; if you’re not quite as self-reflective as you might be, it is to such as you that the kingdom of belongs.
Some idealized version of childhood as an impossible aspiration sounds awful. But an assurance that acting like a child even when you know better doesn’t exclude you from God’s promises? That would be excellent news.
You and I both know that my chance at neotenous features is long gone, so thanks for assuring me that you love me even when I act like a three-year-old. Amen.
Children and Youth Ministry Update
from Nordia Bennett, Children’s Minister
Hi Park Family,
We are welcoming change with cooler breezes, warm beverages, and bundles. May this transition period meet you with much tenderness and care.
Last Sunday, the 10:30 am (3rd grade or younger) children prioritized time connecting with each other with laughs and shares of what is bringing them joy during this time. We talked about what they are interested in and looking forward to as they are diving more into their academic year.
This Sunday, the 10:00 am (4th grade or older) youth will explore “The Narrow Door”, Luke 13:22-30 in the “Who Can We Be Together? A Biblical Exploration of Luke 13”. The 10:00 am (3rd grade or younger) children will dive into “David and Goliath” narrative in the Sparks Story Bible: Spark a Journey Through God’s Word.
From Bonnie English and Coalition for the Homeless, Inc.:
The start of the new school year is just around the corner, and we still need your help providing homeless children with the essential supplies they need to succeed!
Just $20 will allow us to provide one child with a brand-new backpack filled with essential supplies, including notebooks, folders, markers, calculators, and more.