“Then He (Jesus) took a little child. Mark 9:36
Nearly six decades ago Sunday morning meant a sleep in after a big day Saturday roaming the hills with my dog. In the winter we would dig up rabbits (and anything else that took his fancy) and in the dry weather before summer I would try to burn the hill. We achieved some success with both keeping rabbit on the menu and the volunteer fire service rehearsed for the approaching summer.
Sunday we went to church at 11:00am and Sunday School in the afternoon at 3:00. About all I remember now from the church services is that I frequently got into a giggle in the back row of seats. Mum played the organ and Dad often led the service so we were often on our own. When the circuit minister came (about four times a year) he would usually create a chalk drawing on paper while speaking. I don’t recall anything he, or any other preacher, said.
Sunday School was play time. I remember having class under the olive trees and throwing olives at children in another class. I don’t recall anything of lesson content. That I don’t remember does not mean that God’s word did not soak in through the efforts of faithful teachers. Anniversaries were great times but I don’t recall any of the special messages but I do remember the songs and hymns we sang on those occasions because we rehearsed so much.
In those years I did learn that there was a God who could be known. I learned that the Bible was His Word. I gained sensitivity to right and wrong that in my teen years I thought a curse but was in reality God’s restraining hand. The Bible stories faithfully taught, but not well remembered, had done a good work in my heart so that I could not sin without having to fight my conscience.
These are some of the reasons why I believe it is imperative that children hear who God is and what He has done through Jesus Christ as early as possible. Of course we would hope that they would be more receptive and understanding than I was. Since He was able to get hold of me we know that He can get hold of anyone.
Sunday School teachers must be among the most blessed of God when they teach His word faithfully to children. I have heard or read the testimony of many people who attribute their Sunday School teacher as having a significant influence on them coming to Jesus Christ.
One would think that the seventh Beatitude includes Sunday School teachers: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Through their faithful teaching of God’s word many children have entered Christ’s kingdom. Truly they are blessed as they make peace, and reconcile children to Jesus Christ.