REDEEMER UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
October 22, 2023
21st Sunday after Pentecost
Processional: “This is My Father’s World”
Invocation: Welcome to this Glorious Sunday!
Father, please continue to be the wing that shelters our children, strong with Protection and soft with Grace. We place them in your great care and declare that they are yours. Amen
Call to Worship
L: When I think of God’s presence in the world, I am grateful:
P: Grateful for the presence of hope; grateful for the gift of life.
L: And when I think of God’s presence in our lives, I am humbled:
P: Humbled by the gift of grace; humbled by the invitation to begin again.
L: And when I think of God’s presence in this community, I am glad:
P: Glad to be surrounded by people worshipping our God. Thank you, God. Amen
Words of Welcome and Parish News
*Gathering Hymn: “Hymn Jesus Loves Me” 191 UMH
Silent meditation and prayer: Let’s take a moment and think about what we’d like our children’s future selves to look like: How do we want them to grow up? And then let’s think about how we can help make those dreams a reality!”
Prayer Focus: The future
Lord’s Prayer: Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Special Music: “The Devil Doesn’t Bargain” SyeEta Jones
Old Testament Deuteronomy 6:6-7
And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
New Testament Mark 10:13-16
And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
Choir Anthem “This is the Day”
The Message: “Children Today” Phyllis Bellmore
“Children; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. They no longer rise when elders enter the room, they contradict their parents and tyrannize their teachers. Children are now tyrants.” This sounds like a quote by a disgruntled parent or teacher. It is not, this quote was said by Socrates said about 470BC.
The reason I have referenced such a quote is that, although it may be 2,500 years old, is it still true today? Are today’s children worse than when we were young?
Young people nowadays are shown in a light that portrays them as useless, irresponsible, disrespectful, unprepared, unengaged, lazy, rude, entitled, arrogant – the list goes on.
But what do children today see daily in their lives?
Children see Shootings in their schools and on their school grounds. In 2022 by there were 300 shooting incidents on school grounds, compared to 250 in 2021 and 114 in 2020. These statistics came from the K-12 School Shooting Database. That averages over one shooting each day of the school year. These shootings include the Mass Casualties shootings that make the news, the drive by shootings and the shootings that settle a dispute. A decade earlier in 2010 there were only 15 school shootings. Firearms are the #1 killer of kids in this country. And yet children see the adults whose job it is to protect them doing very little to address the problem.
Add this to violence that children see reported on the news each evening. For example, as of mid-September 2023 there have been over 500 mass shootings in the United States. There are stabbings, robberies, domestic violence, wars, kidnappings etc. etc. etc.
Children see adults disrespecting each other on national TV. A recent political debate had individuals running for the office of president of the United States talking over each other, calling each other names, displaying no manners, no self-control or self-discipline.
Children see The President and the former president of the United States getting called names and being disrespected every day. Additionally, both President Biden and President Trump are guilty of the same type of name calling and making fun of people in their public comments. These two individuals represent the Face of the United States. Are these the types of role models our children should be looking at?
Children see Road Rage where violence is used as a response to a traffic issue, many being minor infractions. The number of road rage injuries and deaths has increased every year since 2018. In that year, at least 70 road rage shooting deaths occurred in the United States; in 2022, the number doubled to 141. The same trend occurred with gun injuries: at least 176 people were injured in a road rage incident in 2018, with a staggering increase to 413 people in 2022. These incidents translate to a person being shot and either injured or killed in a road rage incident in 2022 every 16 hours, on average. And this is just what is reported. Also, drivers act out even if children are present. Just imagine what children see and hear in the cars they are passengers in?
There is no “turn the other cheek” response that Jesus preaches in his Sermon on the Mount. Instead, children see “an eye for an eye” also in the Sermon on the Mount and which Jesus tells us we should reject.
Facebook is one of the biggest places where adults have temper tantrums. They cannot let a comment they disagree with pass without some type of snarky response. It can be an especially vicious comment if the responder doesn’t even know the person commenting.
Yet we tell children to be kind. We tell them not to bully. We tell them to find a peaceful resolution. We tell them to be empathetic, sympathetic and compassionate.
Children today are also perceived as lazy.
But why should Children today have any work ethic …. What do the adults around them show and teach them about having a work ethic. Companies today are cutting jobs and benefits to increase profits. CEO pay has soared 1,209.2% since 1978 compared with a 15.3% rise in typical workers’ pay. Companies do not care about how these decisions affect workers or their families. They care about money. And mostly money in their own pockets.
Young workers today are told that even though social security is taken from their paychecks they will never receive social security. Many folks who paid into a pension where they worked have lost their pensions because a business went bankrupt. Many of us paid social security that we hope to collect upon retirement but the retirement age to collect social security keeps going up. So why would a young person get a traditional job. Why work 40 hours a week to get two weeks’ vacation? Why not work for yourself, set your own hours, keep the money you earn.
Children also see many of us calling ourselves Christian while we don’t follow the teachings of Christ. We all know people who go to Church services on Sunday only to break many of God’s ten commandments before the next week’s end.
List of Ten Commandments from the Bible
- Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
- Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
- Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
- Honor thy father and thy mother.
- Thou shalt not kill.
- Thou shalt not commit adultery.
But let’s get back to the children.
Even the Bible gives conflicting messages to children (and adults). For example
- For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.—Exodus 20:5
- The Lord is good to all.—Psalms 145:9
- No man hath seen God at any time.—John 1:18
- For I have seen God face to face.—Genesis 32:30
- For every man shall bear his own burden.—Galatians 6:2
- Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.—Galatians 6:2
- For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.—Romans 3:23
- There was a man…who name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright.—Job
By the way, the children that Socrates was referencing would go on to lead developments in mathematics, astronomy, language – even inventing the alarm clock.
Youth today face challenges that we never faced in our childhoods. There is cyberbullying. Even changing schools will not allow escape from this torment. We have Artificial Intelligence that many experts, including those responsible for AI’s invention, unable to predict where this technology might take us. We have children with much higher rates of mental illnesss, including depression, anxiety, and addiction. The rate of suicide among children and teens continues to rise. We have extremely graphic and violent video games. These children and youth had to go through COVID, the January 6th Washington D.C. incident, and rioting after protests.
We have all heard the expression “Children should be seen and not heard” FYI A 15th century clergyman named John Mirk who is credited with coining this phrase.
So, what are we letting the children see?
Do the adults in a child’s life show an example of how a person should be, how to behave, how to speak, how to disagree with someone, how to be kind, compassionate and caring. Are you someone a child should imitate? I ask you to ask yourself that question!
One more thought “image what today’s children might bring to the world of tomorrow.” And yes I would love to see it.
Holy God, source of every good gift: the tithes and offerings we bring to you are simply a token of our desire to walk more closely beside you. We give, knowing that “rendering unto you what is yours” would mean leaving everything at your altar – all we have and all we are. We are not there yet, but with your help, we are on the road to getting there. Bless what we give; may it speak words of compassion, mercy, and love as it empowers your mission and ministry. We pray this in the powerful name of Jesus, whose light we seek to follow. Amen.
Offertory Music: “For the Beauty of the Earth”
*Doxology: UMH 95
Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; praise him, all creatures here below; praise him above, ye heavenly host; praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.
*Unison Prayer of Dedication:
As we offer our gifts to you, Holy God, may we remember those who are forgotten by us too many times – the hungry, the lonely, the homeless, the vulnerable – yet are important citizens in your kingdom of grace, justice, and hope. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Closing Hymn: “Hosanna, Loud Hosanna” 279 UMH
Heavenly Father, thank you for this time that we have spent together learning more about you and worshiping your name. As we leave this place today, may we be committed to worshiping and serving you in our daily lives. Lord, show us ways that we can bless others each day. Help us to see your blessings around us in the simple, small things that bring us joy each day. As we leave this place, please fill us with peace. Help us to go forth with joy that can only come from you. Amen.
Recessional: “Fairest Lord Jesus”
(Please remain seated to meditate and reflect on the music)