Barren . . .with Children?

Whoozeewatsit? Barren with children?

Well…yes. Stay with me.

When I sadly and too often see parents prioritize sports over Sunday School, sleepovers instead of sermons, poke fun of or complain about their pastors in front of their kids, or send their children to confirmation yet never darken the church’s door themselves, I have to wonder where the real LIFE of that family is. How can they keep their spiritual hearts beating when they aren’t receiving–or are blatantly denying–any quality spiritual food? One might say they are fast approaching a barren spiritual life, since where there is no Jesus, there is no spirituality or life. And that can’t be good for anyone, nevermind their children.

But readers, please don’t take this as a motivational speech, scared straight talk or condemnation (from me). We are all condemed who are born into sin. Yet Jesus is on the heels (the eyes, ears and knees, etc.) of the baptized; convicting and beckoning us all to Him, so that we might repent and confess Christ crucified for us, and be forgiven.

And when that conviction and peace comes, how can anyone stop it from overflowing from their own hearts and minds and onto our little ones? It simply can’t not (yup, I love double negatives). It can’t not compel a mother and father to bring their child into the sanctuary. It can’t not move parents to baptize their infants. It can’t not motivate them to discipline their young to listen to the Sermon, participate in the liturgy, and receive Christ in His body and blood. It can’t not… for where His Word is proclaimed and Sacraments administered, there too is Jesus, with all the promises and benefits therein to sustain his Church into eternity.

That is our true life, devoid of barrenness, and what faithful albeit sinful parents believe, teach and confess for their God-given little miracles. Our children need nothing more…and will certainly suffer with anything less.

I pray this post also encourages the childless who also faithfully gather around the altar, pulpit and font to know God’s wisdom in the face of their afflictions. But barrenness in this context points to the ultimate ail in all of existence… separation from Jesus, the one true, Fruitful Mulitiplier of His Church. The fruitfullness comes both in numbers and in faith, sometimes one more than the other, but it always comes, because He promises it will, in order that we might know Him and where He is. In Him we’re whole– both here and in heaven–because of Christ crucified and risen for us, not because of how many proverbial arrows we’ve been endowed with or not.

Let us confess joyfully this full life that we share, and pray that all are compelled by the Holy Spirit to bring their families right to where Jesus, our life and salvation, is.