Children as sacraments

Jesus Christ is the centre of our faith;  the child Jesus is the centre of the mystery of Christmas we have just celebrated.

 

When Jesus grows up, he will teach “let the children come to me for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,” and “unless you
become like a child you will not inherit the kingdom.”

Alstonville Anglicans take Jesus seriously. We regard children as a sacrament – an outward sign of invisible grace. Why? Because Christ became a child. Why? Because Jesus said the kingdom of God belongs to children.

 

Here are some important things to remember about sacraments.

1. Sacraments ‘work’; they  communicate God’s love and presence.

Sacraments work because God is good; not because the giver or receiver is good. Children are sacraments, pointers to the kingdom of God, because God is good, not because children are good, pandered to, put forward,
entertained or made into entertainment. It is enough for children to
merely be a part of us.

2. We create spaces around our sacraments- we have an altar for the Eucharist and a font for baptism. Likewise, Alstonville Anglicans
create a worship space that indicates that children are welcome.
We achieve this by:

 

a. Inviting children to the front of the church where there are comfortable cushions to welcome them.

b. The Godly Play models inside and around the altar
communicate the sacred story of God’s work with God’s people.

c. The Godly Play models are lovingly made by the saints and ministers in our church family. They are not clutter, but holy things for holy people achieving a worshipful atmosphere.

 

3. Sacraments ‘work’ when they are received. Bread and wine
remain bread and wine until they are given and received as the body and blood of Christ.

Likewise, Alstonville Anglicans explore wise and sensitive ways to ‘receive’ children.

To this end I offer my gratitude to all of you for

working with me as fellow ministers in receiving

children as sacraments.

 

I am especially grateful to those who have offered
self-emptying love in creating Godly Play models (holy things for holy people) and working with children and families in Messy Church and other projects.

 

 

 

 

Rector Alstonville