Authenticity, Pain, Spirituality, Suffering., Youth and Children's Work

Sugar Coated Christianity…

Today I had a whole load of preschoolers in Church to hear the Easter story, which was great, yet I was faced with the challenge, how to speak truthfully about Jesus dying for us on the cross in a way that wasn’t too heavy or upsetting for 3 and 4 year olds.
Of course we need to be wise and careful how we teach our kids, but I wondered too do we try and shield them from the real world?
Do we try and sugar coat the gospel for kids and new converts?
Yet we need a world view big enough and robust enough to cope with the reality of the complexities of life where good and evil, joy and suffering exist, the already and not yet of Kingdom.
Sometimes simple answers about real and difficult questions about suffering are needed for us all, and too often we don’t talk about suffering, brokenness and struggle enough in our Churches and in our families, and allow Christ into those situations.
There is nothing (i believe) Godly in simply putting on a brave face and pretending everything is fine, pseudo happiness isn’t something Jesus ever asks of us, rather he urges us to carry each others burdens, and to cast our anxieties onto him because he cares for us… He even says “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world!”
I remember a spoof kids song written by my friend Marc Catley (from theological college) it went something like this:
This is the day,
this is the day,
After yesterday after yesterday,
We will be happy, we will be happy.
We will be happy all the way.
This is the day, 
this is the day,
When my rabbit died,
when my rabbit died,
we will be happy….
This is the day,
when dad lost his job etc etc.
This is the day,
when the bailiffs came etc etc.
Perhaps, we need to be real more as Church about our pains, struggles and difficulties, I feel that even if we can’t understand or articulate everything, lets love one another, let us walk alongside each other, and lets be constantly inviting Christ into the midst of the difficult circumstances, knowing he loves and he is powerful and can overcome difficulty and adversity as well as giving us the strength to walk through the valley of death.
Let us as Church seek afresh to not to sugar coat everything with a fake smile, but instead be a real and authentic community sharing brokenness but also partaking is resurrection strength and power and the presence of Christ.

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