Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Children's Sermon

I’ve never been a big fan of the so-called “children’s sermon” in public worship. I trust the motives are good, whatever they may be. But these little vignettes make me uncomfortable. I feel like I am a party to an intrusion into a sacred space - the gentle faith of a child. And I’m always fearful that the sermonizer will moralize (which they often do).

The low point for me (maybe the high point for everyone else) is that moment in the message where the sermonizer poses a question and invariably some four-year old answers in a way that causes the entire congregation to burst out laughing.

Now, God knows I’m all in favor of laughter and joy in church. The Gospel is a party. But more often than not, I don’t think the four-year old is trying to be either funny or joyful. He is dead serious. And normally his answer is more honest than funny. We adults just happen to find such honesty hilarious, especially in church.

Kids will say the darndest things (like the truth, for instance.)

And I can’t help myself. I laugh too.

But it makes me uncomfortable.


Preachrboy said...

We've recently stopped doing "Children's Messages" and now instead have "Catechism Time".

We still invite the children forward, as before. But now the "messages" are simple lessons from the Small Catechism. The congregation is also asked to read along from the apporpriate portion, the children recite it if they know it (and now the parents have one more excuse to teach it to them). Then the pastor follows with a brief explanation of the section for the day.

Much improvement over the "Children's Message".

Dan @ Necessary Roughness said...

preachrboy wins!