“Jesus Blesses Little Children” Pilgrim Church UCC Service of Blessing, (Mark 10:13-16) September 20, 2015

Telling the Story
-Cast of Characters: Jesus, 12 Disciples, some people with little children
-People brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them.
-The disciples shooed them off.  But Jesus saw this and got angry, and he let them know it!
-Jesus said, “Don’t push these children away.  Don’t ever get between me and them.  These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom.  Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.”
-Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.[1]

Jesus Blesses Little Children
-Children in Jesus’ day were to be seen and not heard.  But Jesus had a different idea in mind!
-Jesus told the disciples to not prevent children from being blessed by him.
-To bless has many meanings, it can mean to make or pronounce something holy, to request that God bestows God’s favor, to glorify, or to protect or guard from adversity.
-So when Jesus takes up little children in his arms, lays his hands on them, and blesses them—he was saying that this child is holy/sacred/special.
-And Jesus was saying that unless we accept that how God wants us to live is with the awe and simplicity like children naturally have, we’ll never really experience God’s realm on earth.
-Look to the children, Jesus is saying.  They are the ones who get how amazing life can be!

God loves us because of who God is
-Why is it so hard for adults to remember and believe that God doesn’t love us because of how much money we make or how attractive we are or because of what we’ve accomplished in our lives?
-God loves us because of who God is.
-In Jesus, we see that God is always reaching out to us with open arms.
-Today we’ve blessed holy water, backpacks, and our church home.
-Now we’re going to bless each other, to remind us that we are loved because of who God is.  Find someone sitting next to you.  And if there are several people in your group, that’s great too.
-I want you to hold hands, look each other in the eyes, and repeat after me:

You are a beloved and blessed child of God.
God always welcomes you home.
God loves you flaws and all.
Remember to be a blessing to others.
Amen!

[1] Mark 10:13-16, The Message.