Palm Sunday and Children

A colleague of mine posted today on social media a picture of his very young son praying in a worship service at his congregation, and it reminded me of the wonderful discipline and blessing of having children in a church’s worship services.    I am a firm believer in not separating families on Sunday morning, but instead coming together intergenerationally,  as a diverse and great orchestra of praise to our God.

Tomorrow begins Holy Week, and we start with the celebration of Palm Sunday, an event recorded in all four Gospel accounts.  I would like you to consider one of the statements found in Matthew:

“But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, (16) and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise‘?” -Matthew 21:15-16

It struck me when reading this that the children were in the temple complex, taking part in the worship of Israel.  Jesus even quotes Psalm 8:2 in verse 16, saying “babies and infants” have prepared praise for Him, meaning he found this Davidic Psalm fulfilled that day in the worship of these young children.  Here are a few takeaways.

1. Even the religious leaders of Jesus day, which had distorted much of the original intent of the law with rabbinic second temple Judaism, allowed children in the worship of Israel.  This is contrasted with many evangelicals today, which consider them at best a distraction to the services.

2.  The religious leaders issue was not the presence of children in the service, but the fact the children were worshiping Jesus on that Palm Sunday, crying out “Hosanna” (“Save now” or “Save, we pray You”).  This is contrasted with many evangelicals who do not allow children to worship Jesus in song with their families, or actually fear children are not capable of this, but instead would be “bored.”

3.  The children cried out that Jesus was “the Son of David.”  That is a doctrinal affirmation in worship.   Yet many children will never hear their own pastors preach and teach doctrinal truth until they are teenagers in evangelical churches, but instead will spend time with substitute teachers who are often [though not always] poorly prepared and have not spent the time in God’s Word necessary to open it with boldness and clarity, and most importantly are not called to the Pastoral Ministry.

This Palm Sunday, I look forward to worshiping with children, just as it happened 2,000 years ago, crying out “Hosanna to the Son of David!”

#PalmSunday #Children #Worship #FamilyWorship #HolyWeek #ChildrenInChurch

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