Begin by praying the Collect for Grace and Collect for Purity.
Collect for Grace:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought us safely to this new day: Preserve us with your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all we do, direct us to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Collect for Purity:
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we might perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read: Matthew 18:1-5 and Psalm 106:1-12
Jesus told his disciples that they had to convert and become as small children. Too often we choose to act as small children, pitching a temper tantrum whenever we don’t get our way at church. We think that everything is supposed to revolve around us, completely forgetting the fact that the whole entire reason for having a church in the first place is to do God’s will, not our own. That’s what clubs are for.
One has to wonder if the reason so many churches are in decline these days is because God has them on time out for misbehaving. We seem to think that we can get things our way just by withholding our tithes (or earmarking them away from the pastor’s salary), or by not paying our apportionments, or by talking about Sister Bertha behind her back. The thing is, God is not amused. Jesus was pretty adamant that the Church’s job is to make disciples, not a ruckus.
Jesus told his disciples, good Jewish boys, that they had to convert and become like a small child. What he meant was that the old way of doing things wouldn’t work anymore. Just simply giving lip service or doing things because they’d always done them that way wouldn’t cut the mustard. Instead, we are to have a child-like faith in God. Children have very strong faith. Ever try to convince a child that Santa Claus isn’t real? Children are also more open to seeing things that adults miss. For instance, children sometimes report having seen angels in various places. Perhaps their eyes are open in a way that life in the world closes as we grow older and less innocent.
Take some time to pray about this. Are you guilty of throwing a temper tantrum because you didn’t get your way? Do you try to make church into your own image? Ask God to help you to become like a small child so you can enter the kingdom of God. Write your own prayer.