Monopoly, change and children
I deal with changes nearly every day, but this one is too much. Monopoly replaced three of their game pieces: the thimble, the boot and the wheelbarrow. I grew up playing with those pieces. I woke up each day knowing that I would play Monopoly the same way I’ve always played it. I like the wheelbarrow best of all. It’s a hard-working, hand in the dirt kind of piece.
Now the pieces will be (pause) T-Rex, a rubber ducky and a penguin. Can you believe it? An obvious attempt to reach young people. Well! I say, let the young people get their own game.
I’m not sure I can live in a world where even Monopoly changes. I am getting old. Change is hard. But change is part of life, even a part of our church life. One reason there is change is because our children change as they grow older. So, this is all their fault.
“One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could touch and bless them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.” (From Mark, Chapter 10)
And they should scold those parents. Jesus is busy. He should not be disturbed. Right? Wrong!
But, when Jesus saw what was happening, he was angry. He said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.
Do you want to know something? I’m the one who needs this lesson. Jesus made it clear that children and youth are important, and we adults need to remember that. Rather than push children away, we need to better learn how to love them, to listen and even be willing to change when necessary whether it be Monopoly or the way we do church.
Speaking of listening and change, several fifth graders were given the opportunity to answer the question: “What do I know about God?” These fifth graders know a lot about God and a lot about life and faith. When the world around us seems to be falling apart, sometimes it is best to hear a different perspective. Maybe we need to listen more closely to our children.
Aidan: I have been going to this church since I was born, and I have loved it from beginning to end. I am here today to tell you what I know about God, but first if you’re wondering why I’m telling you and not one of the pastors, it’s because adults make things so complicated. Now that I am in fifth grade, I keep going to church to learn about God. I plan to go to this church for a long part of my life, and I know my church family can teach me a lot about God.
Madison: I was baptized in an almost empty church after a big snowstorm. My favorite time at church was when I got to help my mom and dad teach my brother’s first grade Sunday School about God and Jesus. I learned a lot too. What I learned most was that God loves me and everyone else too. He shows his love in many ways. From learning about God’s love, we also learned that we should love each other like God loves us. His greatest commandment is found in Mark 12:31: “Love your neighbor as yourself. No other commandment is greater than this.”
Alivia: I know God protects us and has a plan for us. God is real. I know this because He has helped me through tough times in my life. My sister Alex had heart problems. She needed to have a procedure to repair her irregular heartbeat. I was scared and did not know what to do. I asked God to be with Alex and to help her doctor. It seemed like a long time but when my mom called and said that Alex was okay, I was about to cry but I held it together. That night I thanked God for being with my sister and for helping her doctor do his job. Alex no longer sees the doctor for her heart. She is back to her annoying self always trying to tell me what to do.
Julia: What I know about God is he makes miracles happen. God answers your prayer and God has a purpose for everything even if we don’t understand. I know these things are true because I have a friend who was diagnosed with cancer. When I found out she was sick I began to pray for her, and I still do. God heard me and answered my prayers. My friend is healthy and doing well.
Our children teach us. There are changes happening all around, but one thing never changes. The promise that Jesus Christ will be with us no matter what. He will be with us as we grow older, change grades, change jobs and throughout all our other changes. Jesus will be there.
That’s a promise of God whether you are young or old.
REV. LARRY E. DAVIES can be reached at larrydavies@ vaumc.org.