After years of theoretical preparation for Christian faith formation I have found extremely delightful to experience child rearing myself. To witness firsthand how a child forms his or her world view is a marvelous blessing itself. But I also feel that just seeing how a child constructs his or her view of God has really made all the knowledge come together.
More than before I treasure how a child finds trust in God and how he or she collects information of faith by experiencing prayer, worship, Bible-reading, Christian art and books. Faith is not our doing, it really is a gift from God! Childhood faith holds the essence of faith.
The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. 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. (Mark 10: 13-16, MSG)
Childhood faith shows us how to accept God’s kingdom by simply trusting with reverend awe. Often it surprises adults and shows us the way how to approach God with open-mindedness and joyful expectancy.
But we are to help children to develop their faith as they also mature biologically, socially, emotionally and intellectually. We all need to keep faith relevant for each stage of development. Or we abandon faith as childish. Even Jesus is calling us to mature.
By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one—baby’s milk, when you should have been on solid food long ago! Milk is for beginners, inexperienced in God’s ways; solid food is for the mature, who have some practice in telling right from wrong. (Hebrews 5: 12- 14, MSG)
We need to switch from baby’s milk to solid food. We need to give each child of God tools how to take care of their own faith. If people don’t have skills to integrate life and faith they might get frustrated, bored or angry and leave church.
What, then, could these faith skills be? Cultivating wonderment, a prayerful approach to life, meditative Scripture-reading, practicing compassion and Sabbath-keeping would be a great start. We would get beyond childhood faith without losing childlike attitude towards God’s kingdom.
Thank you for the gift of faith!
Help us to mature our faith without losing childlike attitude to you.
Enable us to help children to grow their faith in you.
Equip all of us with adequate faith tools to integrate life and faith.
Empower us to have robust faith in you
and share it with all your little ones.
Bless us with your loving presence now and always.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: What could those faith skills be that would help people to take care of their faith as mature Christians?
Be blessed, my fellow pilgrim, as you continue your faith journey with childlike attitude and expectancy maturing in your faith day by day!
Photo courtesy of Nina Santamaria