August 24, 2008

The Silent Room

Luke 18:15-17

“Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Luke 18:17


“Don't you want to live your life for God?” a friend of mine asked while he was preaching. He paused for dramatic effect, not expecting anyone to answer. But at that moment a child in the pew was tussling with his mother and shouted, “No!” Children must learn that there are times to shout and times to be quiet. But some people think children should always be silent during a worship service. In fact, some churches have cry rooms off the sanctuary. Parents are expected to bring noisy children to the cry room to keep the time of worship as quiet as possible. Sometimes I wonder if that is best. Our disabled daughter once got the giggles in a worship service and filled the sanctuary with holy laughter in praise to God. Isn't an unhappy infant or a joyful disabled adult as precious to God as the person who sits quietly? Maybe we should rename the “cry room” and make it the “silent room.” Worshipers who need silence in worship could use that room, and the rest of us who don't mind a few sounds and noises from God's children could remain in the sanctuary. We might get some unexpected interruptions during worship, but these might also be calls from God to remind us that we are to receive the kingdom like a child?in complete trust and dependence on our Father.

God, help me to hear your voice through whomever you choose to speak, especially in times of worship. Help us to love one another, knowing we all depend on you. Amen.

About the author — Mark Stephenson

Rev. Mark Stephenson is the Director of Disability Concerns for the Christian Reformed Church in North America. Previously he served in two congregations in Michigan. He and his wife have four children.

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