Worship Script (4 of 5)

 Child’s Play

 

OPENING WORDS

Luke 18:16-17 

But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

 

HYMN #34 “Though I May Speak with Bravest Fire”

 

FIRST READING

Quote by Mike Yaconelli

Children live in a world of dreams and imagination, a world of aliveness… There is a voice of wonder and amazement inside all of us; but we grow to realize we can no longer hear it, and we live in silence. It isn’t that God stopped speaking; it is that our lives became louder.

 

SECOND READING

From Orthodoxy by G. K. Chesterton 

Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again,” and the adult does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again,” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again,” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that he has the eternal appetite of infancy. 

 

HYMN #83 “Winds Be Still”

 

STORY FOR ALL AGES

From Nurturing Child and Adolescent Spirituality: Perspectives from the World's Religious Traditions edited by Karen Marie Yust, et al.

In Islamic teachings it is emphasized to play with children, especially those younger than age seven. Prophet Muhammad placed a special importance on children’s games; he sometimes even played with them. He encouraged parents to play with their children. He advised parents to teach youngsters sports such as swimming, running, and wrestling. His students related several examples of Prophet Muhammad’s games and jokes with children:

The prophet, with some of his students, was invited to a dinner. On the way they ran into his grandson Hussein, who was a very young child. He was playing with some other children. When they saw the kids, prophet Muhammad went forward and opened his arms wide in order to embrace them, and the children started to run around in play. Then Prophet Muhammad ran after Hussein to join him in his game until he caught him. When he caught Hussein, he put one hand under his chin and one hand at the back of his neck and kissed him.

 

MEDITATION

Quote by Vince Gowmon

Play isn’t something separate from the daily grind of life. It is not something to finally get to when work ends. Rather, play, like music, is a force that we feel in our bones and that whispers in our heart. As kids demonstrate, play is not over there, but forever here and now. 

(Pause) Blessed be.

 

CANDLES OF JOY AND CONCERN

Those who are so moved are now invited to come forward to light a candle, expressing a joy or concern in their lives.  As you do, you may briefly share what it is. We ask that people coming forward speak for no more than a sentence or two, and that they speak from the heart about issues in their lives, rather than political issues, which we can take up at coffee hour or in the parking lot.

 

SERMON

Tucked In

by Robert Walsh

On a quiet suburban street on a Sunday evening, just as it was getting dark, I saw a car pull into a driveway, and then the silhouette of a man walking from the car to the front door of the house, carrying a sleeping child. The child's head lay on the man's shoulder, his arms and legs dangling like the limbs of a puppet. They went in the door, and my imagination filled in the rest of the story.

I imagined that the family had been on a day trip in the car. During the warm summer day the boy had run, played, jumped, shouted, eaten. On the way home, he had fallen asleep in the back seat.

My mind went back twenty-five years, to a time when I was that Dad, driving home from a picnic and a hike in the mountains, singing songs in the car, at last seeing the familiar neighborhood in the car lights, pulling into our driveway, and finding one or more of the kids sleeping so soundly that even carrying them in and dressing them for bed did not disturb their slumber.

And then my mind went back fifty years, to when I was that boy, and I remembered how safe I felt in the darkening back seat, with my parents up front. I could put my head down and doze off, trusting that nothing bad would happen. And I would wake up in bed, thinking, "How did I get here? The last thing I remember is being in the back seat of the car." And I realized that my parents had carried me from the car, put me to bed, and tucked me in.

The early Universalists believed that the fate of a human being was like that. No matter how rough the trip might have been or how badly you might have behaved, at the end you would come home, and it would be a place of trust, safety, and love. Two centuries ago, many people were amazed to hear this message, because most churches told them that at the end of their journey they were more likely to face punishment for all their failings.

So is the Ultimate Truth that our souls will be taken care of in the way a loving parent takes care of a child? I don't know. Certainly much of life is not like that. I was lucky. Many children do not have happy homecomings.

I have no answers for Ultimate Questions, but I do have some Partial Truths that I'm quite sure of. Here is one: There is love in this world. There is trust, and there are places of safety where a person can lay down his or her head for a while. The world is not entirely so, but I'm absolutely certain that the world is partially a place of love. And wherever that love comes from, it is manifested in this world by human beings. We are the agents of that love. 

 

HYMN #128 “For All That Is Our Life”

 

BENEDICTION
By Eileen B Karpeles 

As we part now one from another, let these be our thoughts:

If that which is most holy lies within the human person, and if the greatest power in the world shines flickering and uncertain from each individual heart, then it is easy to see the value of human associations dedicated to nurturing that light: the couple, the family, the religious community.

For the power of good in any one of us must at times waver. But when a group together is dedicated to nurturing the power of good, it is rare for the light to grow dim in all individuals at the same moment.

So we borrow courage and wisdom from one another, to warm us and keep us until we're together again.