I decided it was best not to leave it there with such a gloomy blog before the holidays…
On Christmas morning we will have an all-age worship service at WBC where the kids and teenagers stay in the service instead of going out to separate groups. We do this on every first Sunday of the month. I know that putting together an all age worship service is a nightmare for some people. The idea is to communicate something to the adults in a way which is fun for the kids. You have to try and occupy that kind of space that the Simpsons occupies on TV – funny and poignant in different ways for different people. I actually quite enjoy all age worship services – partly because I get on well with kids and partly because I remember a key truth that I read when I was in preaching class at theological college:
You can only ever say one thing in a sermon / service, so say it in a way that is memorable.
And so we have the generosity game – where the two halves of the church try to out-give one another using ball pool balls over a badminton net and then we talk about how generosity is the Christian response to the self-grabbing greed of our society…. And we have Doug, the character with the country accent who long ago discovered some hidden treasure in a field, sold everything he had, bought the field and now lives to dig and then we talk about how God’s kingdom is the treasure worth giving up everything for…. And we have the no toe race where kids hobble towards the finish line and we talk about the importance of every part of the body of Christ…… and so on. From time to time someone tells me that the teaching in these services is not very deep. Sometimes they are right. It is easy for me to miss the point or for an illustration to overwhelm a truth. They are right that there is no blow by blow exegesis, no greek or no hebrew. But they are sometimes fundamentally wrong. Because greek, hebrew and blow by blow exegesis do not necessarily make deep effective teaching. Jesus said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
It is not philosophy or theology that saves us. It is simple childlike faith in Jesus (please see the below blogs if you are concerned that this means jettisoning your brain). The question is not ‘can you fathom great mysteries?’ The question is ‘can you believe in simple truths?’ Like a child. All age worship services serve two purposes: they welcome kids and they remind adults of the deepest life-transforming truths of Christian faith. They also give volunteer kids group leaders a deserved break.
Enough blogging already – I need to pray and think about what to say on Tuesday morning. May the peace of the mighty-God-child and the light of the word-become-flesh and the salvation of the saviour-baby be yours this Christmas time.