I was distracted by the most awesomeness of distractions this morning during the church service. There was a young boy, seven to be exact, sitting behind me talking to his mother about what was happening in the service. She was quietly answering him. Though distracted herself, it isn't really a distraction. The children belong in the service. They are listening and paying attention. They are catechized in word and sacrament through experience. Their little lives are immersed in worship and they DO receive God's good gifts in the service. Why remove them from worship?
I just started teaching an awesome group of preteens last week and these kids are so very well catechized. I have a deep love for young people and seeing them grow and mature and their eyes light up with recognition of what they are learning. I do know I probably ask too many questions but they actually can figure out most of them. They do understand Christ's body and blood given for them and it isn't too deep for them to talk about and think about. They want to know. The answers they give are obviously the product of not only great parents but participation in the service.
I asked these same kids if they had any specific questions they had been wondering about and a ten year old young lady expressed a curiosity and desire to better understand the Trinity and how that is possible. She rocks. I advised her to ask her Pastor if he wanted to come over for tea or ice cream and that his favorite thing to do was to answer questions. At the very least, the hallways and byways at church or Catechesis class would a good place to ask the questions answering Pastor.
So don't start or maintain a nursery. The children are not disturbing anyone including the parents as it is the parents vocation or place in life to parent them now. When all the wiggles are exhausted at age eight or nine or maybe even as young as five, then the parent can chill more in the pew and take it isn. Until then, these beautiful little people are gifts to rejoice in and stare at and love and talk to and soak up while we have the opportunity. I am just totally taken aback by how amazing God's creation and gift of children are to us. Different ages and different blessings. A person of any age is amazing really. See what their eyes are looking at and taking in when they are unawares.
Last thought or observation. I don't really pay much attention to other people's children during Holy Communion, but I do see my own little people paying such serious attention, even during their youngest days, during the distribution. Evan's eyes took it all in this morning. He is two. The Pastor giving the bread to people and then Evan receiving the blessing when it was his turn. He becomes perfectly still lately and listening. Children do listen. They are not incapable of understanding. Don't take and hide the children away from the service in fear of disturbing people. Disturb the people! Children of God of all ages were of utmost importance to our Lord Jesus. He loves us all and not just those who can sit still during the sermon. If I am distracted from the sermon myself, what better way to be distracted but through staring into their little faces. Don't remove them.