On Sunday, March 18, St. James’ youth choir will be performing Unselfie #SelflessInASelfieWorld. You may have first heard about the musical this fall when we kicked-off the Sunday school year with worship in the pavilion. The sermon that I preached at that service was on the story of the Good Samaritan, which is told in Luke’s gospel.
At that time, the children had not been introduced to the musical that they will be singing with confidence and conviction this coming Sunday, but their Youth Club leaders were already beginning to think about how to develop selflessness in children by reading the book UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World by Michele Borba. Thanks to Sue Foster and Deb Hanner for their leadership in Youth Club this year!
I am thrilled to have been able to participate in this part of congregational life at St. James. There is no substitute for time, and I am grateful for the amount that I have been able to invest in the church’s children this year.
I hope that the results of this investment are evident on Sunday mornings when the children come forward for our Conversations with Children. Children’s sermons, like so many aspects of life in the church, are more art than science, and their success is often contingent upon the leader’s relationship with the group whom he or she serves.
One of the many highlights of yesterday’s worship service was the children’s responses to the questions that I asked during the children’s sermon. Among the objectives of this discussion were: 1) to find out which song in the upcoming musical the group likes best and 2) to identify which one was the most difficult to learn.
For approximately half the group, the song that the children like best is also the one that they describe as the most difficult to learn.
This morning, I woke up thinking about challenges, about how perseverance in some circumstances makes us and the people around us better and about how perseverance in other situations is a source of frustration, which is ultimately self-defeating.
My thoughts drifted toward the 12th chapter of Hebrews, which begins: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.”
Then, I read on and was pleased by the extent to which the contents of yesterday’s children’s sermon illustrates the point made later in the chapter: “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Discipline and self-discipline pay off. For further evidence that God fulfills this biblical promise, please join us at St. James for Unselfie #SelflessInASelfieWorld directed by Betty Enck on Sunday at 10:15 a.m.