Friday, July 06, 2007

Wondering About the Theology of Children

Following my recent post about five things I "dig" about Jesus, Sandie posted her own list of five on her blog. All were good, but of the five the last one jumped out at me the most: "The way Jesus called the children to him. I think he knew they would understand before the adults did." This really got me to thinking a bit about a child's awareness of God in his/her life, and some random things came to mind.

As we go through life, many of us often try and find where God is active in/influencing the course of our lives. I've talked about it several times, but during the past several months I've had multiple opportunities to discover that I'm really not in charge of things (despite my best efforts to the contrary); I've also had the chance to see some wonderful things with my daughters during this time as well -- things that I wouldn't have been able to experience with them had I been sitting behind a desk. The further along I go, the more I see God at work in my life.

But after reading Sandie's post, I started wondering about how children -- especially my daughters, even at their very young ages -- see God/Jesus in their lives; do they understand on some level the amazing things that are going on? MB is at an age where she can go to Sunday school and come home with stories of Jesus, but I really don't think that she has a strong comprehension at this age of what she's being taught from the Bible. But does she in fact have a rudimentary understanding of how God works in her life through the things she experiences every day? When she sees a butterfly or lightning bug flying through our backyard and expresses joy at that, I wonder if she realizes at some level that she is expressing joy at God? When she runs up to her mother and me for a hug at the end of her day at preschool, does she recognize somehow that the Jesus she talks about on Sundays is also around to give her hugs? When her sister coos and giggles at the funny faces and sounds we make to entertain her, is there a part of her somewhere that knows she is cooing and giggling with God?

Out of everything, though, I think there is one thing that children do better than anyone else on Earth: they love unconditionally. Isn't that unconditional love at the very heart of everything we've read, studied, and learned about God, Jesus, and the Bible? For me, the answer after typing this is yes -- and, as Sandie said in her post, perhaps Jesus called the children because he knew that they do understand earlier than adults, and the hugs, coos, giggles, and laughter they are sharing with us are signs of their knowing.


rdl said...

I think you're right.

Helen said...

That's a lovely post, I have learnt alot through children, the other day at work a very ill child came to the department, I weighed her etc.. and commented on her lovely smile, she said "I find that if I share my smile with others, they smile back and it's a better place" gulp!

God is all around us and uses these little gems to cause us to stop and think.

Thought provoking isn't it, that simple childlike faith and looking at the world is fantastic,

Have a great weekend!
Helen x.

Sandie said...

Great post, I have leaned a lot teaching Godly Play and Catacheis (SP) of the Good Shepherd. Both programs let kids express there inner theology instead of 'telling them' what to think. Kids as young as 3-4 have some really meaningful and deep theological thoughts, and they can express them when given the right tools.

Dad said...

I have been so pleased with watching you grow as a son and now as a father!

There are so many things children can teach us. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork" As we grow, we get so caught up in "doing" that we forget "seeing and being." Children see the glories of God everywhere - they are "in the presence of God" - they are "being" totally in the presence.

Children love without fear - until someone or something teaches them to fear. "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear." Children are not afraid to love and love unconditionally. They live in the present... and as I grow older, I am beginning to see their point of view.

"Always remember and never forget" it's never to late to tell someone you love them.

"Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God - for God is Love."