Friday, November 22, 2013

Spirituality of Children, Spirituality of All

Young children have a spiritual self, just as they have physical and emotional selves. They are already known and loved by God, and research tells us that they in turn have an awareness of God. Children are not empty vessels waiting for adults to tell them about God and fill them with theological knowledge. They are already relating to God. Thus, an important role of caring adults is to guide children to explore their relationship with God.

What is true about children is true about human beings. Whether adults or teens or wise elders or infants, we are known and loved by God. Each of us is a complete and complex human being. None of us is passively waiting for someone to fill our heads with theological understanding. Rather, I suspect most of us are hungry for guidance as we try to understand our relationship with God and how that relationship informs our everyday lives. Regardless of age or experience, we all can use encouragement and guidance to expand our relationship with God.

Church congregations are one of the few places in our culture where multiple generations interact with each other with mutual purpose; congregations have a unique opportunity to actively support the spiritual formation of all ages. When we respect and nurture the spiritual lives of children in our parishes, we strengthen the entire community. When we worship together, learn and play together, reach out to those in need together, we can guide each other as we spread the love of Christ.

copyright © Anne E. Kitch 2013