Sunday 6 October 2013
The child’s colouring book contained line-drawings of pop stars, rappers and others holding guns and knives. Not your usual “colour me in”. It had come in the Jumble and I tore it up, appalled that young children might assume that this was an acceptable culture. I don’t often play the censor. Later, I thought it would have been more sensible to have checked the publisher, then discover whether the material was legally offensive.
Of course, for many children that culture is the norm they grow up in, alongside alcohol, drugs the dangers of the internet and so on. I realise I sound like ‘Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’ but children are vulnerable and need support and education from family, teachers and others before they counter these realities.
Add on malnutrition, disease, child labour, child soldiers, child trafficking and we see a hostile world.
So it’s important that churches are safe and nurturing places for children. At St Martin’s we are trying to be more inclusive of children, with their participation in the liturgy, their own learning programme, and the new crèche. (There is a meeting about Children’s Ministry today.)
My botanical knowledge tells me that with proper care, the seed becomes the seedling, becomes the mature and healthy plant. Saint Paul wrote that “he had planted, Apollos watered, and God had made the plant grow”.
As Edith Sitwell put it, “all in the end is havest”.
Revd Colin Midlane