When the religious leaders saw the outrageous things he was doing, and heard all the children running and shouting through the Temple, “Hosanna to David’s Son!” they were up in arms and took him to task. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” Jesus said, “Yes, I hear them. And haven’t you read in God’s Word, ‘From the mouths of children and babies I’ll furnish a place of praise’?” Matthew 21:15-16 The Message (MSG)

Admittedly, our worship on Sunday makes some of my older folk cringe. We are a loud and messy group. Liturgical, in our case anyway, does not mean staid and stuffy. In this house, Roots of Life, we do loud, we forgive, we show grace, and we love everyone. We do follow the four movements of the liturgical Lutheran worship; gather, word, table, and sending. We begin each time with a reminder of who we are and whose we are, beloved children of God. Through the reading of scripture, poetry, sermon, and music we hear sacred texts come alive in the hearers’ ears. The table is communion, where we understand that God’s presence is with us, in community and in spirit. Finally, we are sent with words to encourage us to do these things in the world, in our homes, at work and everywhere we travel; it is our mission and our call.
During Advent it seems, the spirits of the children is extra special excited. There anticipation is contagious, even though their waiting may be for Santa and presents, they still hear the stories, they still hear the words to be kind to all, they hear the music, understand the signs of peace, and they are learning what it means to be God’s messengers of peace, joy, hope and love.
Admittedly, I’m a spoiled pastor, the Roots children by and large, LOVE to come to church. They are with their friends, they meet adults who love them no matter where they have been or what they are going to do. Yes, eyebrows get raised when they laugh too loud, run through the sanctuary, or play pranks on the adults. But they love being together. They feel welcomed. 
One of my favorite times in worship is when I distribute communion. Children often come to me smiling broadly, asking for more bread, or wide eyed with wonder, some have come running down the aisle, so excited to get their part of Jesus. Can we be taught? Can we be open enough to wonder about what it means to live with such openness. Yes, there are times for somber and sacred meditative worship. But I think what Jesus is saying in Matthew 21, is let the children come, do not be bothered by their hearts, tend to your own heart and find joy! Listen to the children and take heart, God is near!

- Noblesville’s Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at pastor@rolcommunity.com, on Facebook or at www.rolcommunity.com