The children get it!
I was with Year 6 (the top year at Junior school) this week for a couple of ‘Grill-a-Vicar’ sessions! They had written out many, many good questions to ask me! You would be amazed how many were about prayer, although one sticks in my mind – how would you rate yourself as a Christian on a scale of 1-10?!* Thinking back, the children were showing deep concern for others, for prayer they seemed to be saying is something that expresses that concern – but is difficult they acknowledged, because we are so easily just selfish. Many questions also asked were about how we can hear God speak? I explained, how God is speaking to us more than we realize. It just takes a lot of practice at coming to Him, listening, learning and letting him shape us over many years – in particular through Jesus Christ who explained so much to us. Which brings me to today’s 2 Beatitudes (blessings on us from God). Like the earlier ones, I believe this pair are also linked: the 1st about showing mercy to others, including those who don’t deserve it (how is it merciful otherwise?) – practical actions springing from a heart of faith and love; the 2nd about purity of heart, which I’d describe as getting our hearts shaped by God – something we all need over many years, whoever we are, by what some have called ‘long obedience in the same direction’. The link? Without such a heart we will find it difficult to show mercy! As ever, children can be so perceptive – they saw the matters of mercy towards others and how we might be shaped by someone Greater than us as key things for us as human beings. What a privilege to have the chance to discuss it with them!
* my answer? Sometimes 1 = useless, sometimes 10 = cocky, but I hope mainly about 5 = not too down on myself in following Christ, or too confident in my own abilities! How does that sit with you?