Baby Recognition Sun 9/19/04, P16C

“As Children of Light?”
Luke 15: 1-10

t happened again this week: Another Hollywood child actor was arrested for possession of drugs, Macauly Caulkin, best known as the child star of “Home Alone,” and who has had an off and on career since, and has been on the news for divorcing his parents, who would have divorced themselves, but they have never been married. His parents had often come to blows over the seventeen million that their son had made during his brief career. A friend of the family said on TV, “The kid just came up like a weed, or puppy, no proper parental guidance or concern, it's a wonder he has done as well as he has.”

The most important and significant thing Christian parents do in life is rear our children and set them on the right path. It is also our most rewarding and fulfilling experience. Adult children represent our crowning glory. We all know people who have not taken anything else too seriously, but they have made every effort to be good parents.

I remember a large family of poor children who rode my school bus. Our bus would only have a few kids on it when we got to their stop, but after they all got on the bus seemed full. They were poor, but they all carried their books home and did their homework and made real good grades. Rosalie was in my class and she always was toward the top in every subject. Years later, she was one of my Dad's nurses at his deathbed; a true “Angel of Mercy,” in the style of Florence Nightingale. The folks at the hospital all seemed to love and respect her. I asked her how she made it through nursing school, I meant financially, but she said, “With straight A's of course!”

The thing that made Rosalie was that she came out of a true Christian home. They were poor, but aware that they were children of God, and “Children of Light.”

Today's gospel lection just happened to know that we were choosing this day to observe “Baby Recognition Sunday.” Here we have the phrase, “Children of Light.” As does Christening, this joint acceptance of our vows to rear our babies in the love and nurture of God, gives us all a share in the development of these precious ones. More especially, all of us make a vow to honor our responsibilities to be the true, “Church Family of Light.” Some of us will play a direct role in this holy process as we serve as: Children's Sunday School teachers, Scout Leaders, Choir Leaders and other volunteers. I have the high honor of being the Pastor to these families. It is our great joy! We all get to help shine the light so that these children will one day make a thoughtful decision to become a “Child of Light.”

Who are the children of darkness, and who are the contrasting children of light that The Glorious Physician, Dr. Luke speaks of in the sixteenth chapter of his Gospel? How did they get the way they are? Was it just by chance? Do Christian parents sometime just draw the short straw?

Christian parents, and families, believe that if we will faithfully rear our children in the way that they should live, when they are older they shall embrace our Christian faith and values. Our main goal is to lead our children to a place where they know absolutely that they are God's dear children and have something of the awareness of the Spirit of God alive in their souls. Indeed, this is one experience a child can have that makes all of the other vital decisions make sense. Lets all make sure that if our teenagers are approached by Campus Crusade for Christ and are asked if they know that they are a real Christian, that they could give a resounding, “Yes!”

It takes a planned effort to become the best Christian parents that we can be. Good parenting does not just happen by chance, or certainly not by accident. Christian parents want the very best for their children; indeed, they would lay down their lives for their children, and so would we. We also believe that the Holy Spirit guides both the family and the Church as we seek to do our very best to follow His leading.

Ideally, parents receive help from other adults: the extended family: grandparents, aunts and uncles. Neighbor parents and friends can be a big help. Friends can provide great role models. Coaches, pastors, school teachers, Sunday School teachers, scout leaders, older adults in the community, couples who do not have children of their own can be a big help. It takes a community, a village, to rear children and we fellow church members are pledged to help you who are actively involved in rearing children in the home. Our church has committed to providing a first class church program for all ages of children. Hopefully, our parents will feel the support of all of us in this vital part of our life together in Christ.

We can only pray that Macauly Caulkin will receive the psychological and spiritual help he needs to repair the damage done by his irresponsible parents. It will be hard for someone emotionally scarred as much as him to recover, but perhaps he can learn to cope.

Among Christian Pastors and Counselors there is a term, “Memory Healing.” It calls upon the forgiveness of Jesus Christ to help us to relive our past experiences and to accept the Passion of Christ as a means of forgiveness for the one sinned against and the sinner. In other words, adult children of bad parenting have a way to remember and deal with their past, but to do so through redeemed eyes and souls. It is a practice of mine that whenever I recall some negative experience, that may, or may not involve my parents, I breathe the prayer, “O God in Christ, forgive.” I needed to pray many of those prayers as I relived old times around a former parsonage our family built and occupied for four years during my childhood. It is amazing how much clearer we can accept difficult past experiences through adult eyes, especially with the forgiveness that Christ can give.

a sermon synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor
Baby Recognition Sun 9/19/04, P16C