Life as a Christian has changed irreversibly since my wife and I became parents nearly five years ago. Whilst our two daughters are beautiful gifts from God, getting to church involves the kind of military precision that only an 18-month-old’s toileting habits can undermine. On the (many) days when I play guitar in the church band, my wife’s time is juggled between stopping our youngest from throwing her snack out of the buggy, and stopping our oldest from rushing the stage. It’s not always conducive to contemplative worship. We don’t call our under-5s work Livewires for nothing.
So why do we persevere? And why does the church persevere with us?
We persevere because we see our children grow through the Church. Jesus said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When we bring our children to church, they learn about God – through the songs we sing (which then get sung at home) but also through the love and acceptance of other people at church.
And the church perseveres with us because we’re a family. And in families, you have the quiet ones, the loud ones, the slightly unusual ones, but you are knitted together. The Bible tells us to “bear with one another in love” – forbearance being a scarce resource in these twitchy, intolerant times.
So here’s a thank you to those big families (churches), on behalf of all the regular-sized families (parents and children).