Today was spent trying to catch bits of the royal wedding (what an amazing dress!) followed by the boys playing soldiers (the ceremonial version!). I’m no royalist but we do do pomp and ceremony well!
During last week Jonny Baker posted re a phd thesis by Steve Summers around the idea of church as a community of friends and communion as a meal with friends. I haven’t read steve summers work only Jonny’s reflection on it but again it struck me in relation to children’s ministry.
Jonny lists all the occasions Jesus refers to his disciples as ‘friends’ around the last supper. He talks about the fact that we have many descriptions of church – the people of God, the body of Christ, the communion of saints, a pilgrim people – but rarely do we explore the idea of Church as a community of friends.
I totally agree with what Jonny (and I guess by virtue of that Steve) says. As adults we often loose this sense of ‘friendship’.
But many young children will understand Jesus as their friend, many will call the disciples Jesus’ friends. And many understand that it is a radical friendship – that it demands us to be friends with the unlikely and the unloved. That God loves everyone and our friendships need to reflect that.
Now I am not denying for one minute that we need to move people along in their faith development and encourage people to grow and develop as disciples. Children can not stay as children forever and their faith needs to grow and develop to cope with life’s demands.
BUT we have got to find ways of not letting go of those child like truths – Jesus is our friend and that friendship is a radical one because God loves everyone. Yes we need to take on the complexities that these simple statements bring. But for many adults those basic truths of our faith have been chipped away at.
SO – the question for today – how do we avoid this happening and how do we rebuild these childlike truths for those who have had them broken down??