Posted by: rcottrill | June 12, 2017

Jesus Loves the Little Children

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Also see 30+ Ideas for Promoting Hymn Singing in your church. As others have contributed ideas, this wonderful resource has grown to over 80 items now. And, for more than three dozen reasons why congregations should still use hymn books rather than merely projecting words on the wall, see The Value of Hymn Books.

Words: Clare Herbert Woolston (b. _____, 1856; d. _____, 1927)
Music: George Frederick Root (b. Aug. 30, 1820; d. Aug. 6, 1895)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (George Root)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Woolston and his wife Agnes lived in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He served as a Baptist pastor, and wrote a number of books of object lessons for use in children’s ministry. Little else seems to be known about him.

Interestingly, George Root wrote the tune here to the words, “Tramp, tramp, tramp, the boys are marching,” during the Civil War. After the war, wanting to use the tune for a more enduring purpose, he asked Woolston to create some words to fit it, and this is the result.

If you’ve ever watched a detective story on television, you have some idea of what they look for in order to find and convict the guilty. There’s the physical evidence of the crime scene that often points the way. Then, there are things like means and opportunity to commit the crime. And finally, motivation. Why did he or she do it?

The “why” question is often asked in the Bible too–over four hundred times. Sometimes the query is directed to God. For example, the psalmist asks, “Why do You hide Your face from me?” (Ps. 88:14). He’s wondering why he doesn’t sense the presence of the Lord, as he did in former times.

Sometimes there is an answer available for our own spiritual “why?” questions. As we study His Word, and look at puzzling circumstances from that perspective, we gain a new understanding. However, since the Lord is infinitely above us in so many ways (Isa. 55:8-9), there will be times when we cannot see why He does things the way He does.

That is one reason the Son of God took on our humanity. He reveals God to us in ways we can grasp more fully. It’s interesting that one of the names used for Christ is “the Word” (Jn. 1:1). We use words to translate one language into another. And the Lord Jesus translates God into our humanity.

“The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14).

One of the things that’s revealed through Christ’s days on earth is His loving concern for little children. He welcomed them and held them in His arms, and blessed them (Mk. 10:13-16). He used a child’s humility and simple trust as an example for us all (Matt. 18:2-5), and He warned of dire consequences for any who would dare to lead children astray (Matt. 18:6).

Christ love for children is highlighted in an old Sunday School chorus, written by Clare Herbert Woolston, a pastor in New Jersey. But many likely are not aware that there are also three stanzas to the song.

CH-1) Jesus calls the children dear,
“Come to Me and never fear,
For I love the little children of the world;
I will take you by the hand,
Lead you to the better land,
For I love the little children of the world.”

Then comes the better known refrain, that many of us sang years ago.

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight,
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

The question is: Why did the Lord Jesus (and why does He) love and delight in children? We cannot know entirely, but here are a few possibilities to ponder.

1) Because He created them (Jn. 1:3). They are an important part of His overarching and eternal purpose for creation (Rom. 11:36).

2) Because He sees their wonderful potential, not just in a general sense, but the potential of each individual child.

3) Because, as noted above, He delights in their simple trust and their love for Him, which He views as a model for young people and adults.

4) Because He rejoices in their spontaneous and unaffected joy. Adults so often hold back in expressing their feelings. (“What will people think of me?”) But children openly celebrate blessings life brings their way.

5) Because, He wanted to counteract negative views of children. The disciples tried to keep parents from bringing their children to Jesus (Matt. 19:13), and the Pharisees were indignant when children joined in praising Him (Matt. 21:15-16), suggesting that many adults reluctantly tolerated them, and preferred them to keep silent or out of the way.

6) Because, as the warning of Matthew 18:6 reminds us, children are vulnerable in an adult world. The attention and love of Christ for them shows His concern and his desire that they be protected.

These could be some of the some reasons why the Lord Jesus loved children while He was on earth, and why He loves them now.

Questions:
1) What kind of ministries to children does your church have?

2) Are there others for children that you would like to see used by your congregation?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (George Root)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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