God created all there is;
God created you.
Think about that for a moment…God delights, in you!
How does that make you feel?
Our children are surrounded by messages – implicit and explicit – about who they should be, about who is acceptable and who is other. They are measured by their weight, their stature, and their learning. The expectation for parents and teachers in our society is to move children along a continuum of physical, intellectual, and emotional growth regardless of a child’s actual readiness, or of their innate predispositions to be more or less active, to dream or to sing, to bounce or to wander. The pressure is palpable in my conversations with children, youth, parents, and educators alike.
Our churches can, and must, be spaces where children are seen, heard, known, and loved for exactly who they are. Our baptismal covenant cannot be empty words, or comfortable niceties, but instead should inform how we treat every soul who walks through our doors. Our children, whether in sweet Sunday dresses and tiny button down shirts or in last Halloween’s bedraggled costume, are not just cute small parishioners but are full members of the body of Christ. And as anyone who’s worked with them can tell you, they have an innate and profound spirituality that can be a gift to every member of the congregation.
It was with this in mind that we created our Bible study podcast for children, youth, and families, called What’s in the Word? We launched last spring, and I can honestly say that this is a dream come true for me. In every episode, I get to sit down with a small group of our children and youth and spend some time engaging with the stories of our faith together.
The Bible can be daunting, and I hear from parents frequently that aside from reading a Story Bible together, they are afraid to explore scripture with their children because they feel unqualified. My hope is that the podcast models ways to wonder about the words of the Bible together, without feeling that we’re supposed to have the answers. In the podcast, we ask a lot of questions and wonder together, and my young guests have many answers; some incredibly profound, some uncertain, and some even a bit silly. They are all valuable in our process of engaging with and seeking the relevance in scripture for ourselves.
I really love every episode and look forward to making more, and I want to particularly commend the first episode of our second season, aired in two parts to keep the listening time appropriate for children. In it, I sat down with three amazing young people to talk about creation, identity, belonging, and what it means that God delights in each one of us, exactly as we are.
I encourage families to listen together, to hit pause and wonder together at the same questions that they hear in our conversation. I hope that families will listen and then spend time engaging with the Bible together, knowing that in our faith journeys, every voice, every question, and every idea matters. I hope your family will listen.
You can find What’s in the Word? wherever you get your podcasts, or by clicking the logo.