Mark 10:14 'Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."
I remember my youth well - I was an only child until I was 13, I attended Sunday School and church every Sunday memorizing almost every song and I LOVED music! I especially liked rock, which soothed my mind. I saw Menudo on the cover of Teen Beat magazine and that began my following of “boy bands”. I saved enough babysitting money and lawn mowing money to buy the record both in English and Spanish and memorized every song. Their group rules “aged you out” at 15. Fast forward to my early 30’s and the Jonas Brothers hit Las Vegas. My three daughters and I wanted to go. It was my very first in person concert and I was internally terrified. We snuck in a folded-up poster board sign (and repented) and sat with 15,000 high pitch screaming youth. After a minor panic attack, I enjoyed the rest of the show and saw them again right before COVID. In between, I/we also became fans of Big Time Rush and especially One Direction. I can’t imagine the fun of hanging with your bandmates and brothers, but still the realization of the pressures of being young, missing out on normal teen experiences, in the public eye and where to turn to get guidance.
As I put this into a Christian perspective, can you imagine what Jesus went through? He would have loved walking into the MGM Grand Garden Arena surrounded by multiple generations waiting to hear his message, waiting to sing his praises and in eager anticipation of meeting him in person. There wasn’t a rendition of “If I ruled the world” by BTR, or One Direction’s “Story of My Life” or even SOS by the JoBros “It's true I gave my all for you”. He didn’t have the luxury tour bus or the “bros” waiting to play tricks on each other, making videos or rehearsing. Jesus showed up amidst the rejection and taunting and welcomed everyone who came, but especially the little children.
Mark 10:14 is a favorite of mine and is our school’s special education program name. Thankfully, Jesus doesn’t “age us out” at a certain age, he doesn’t dissolve and form new groups or change his messages. He guides us through the pressures we experience both as youth and adults. He welcomes us to bring our ourselves and children (own and/or students) without a fan bus to know him and follow him but NOT dismiss him when we get older. Over the past year or more, I’m sure you and your students have navigated the cameras of zoom, worldly distractions and other challenges. Maybe you rose above and unleashed the innovative silliness needed to keep kids engaged and mentally healthy. Chances are, you didn’t get the fanfare, standing ovations or droves of people waiting to (positively) see you. I am here to say thank YOU. Thank you for sticking it out, praying with and for your students and faculty and expecting nothing in return. YOU are the Christ-like rockstar needed to bring children to Jesus, and keep them learning about Jesus, our one direction to heaven. That is what makes you beautiful! I pray you have some rest and rejuvenation this summer...and oh yeah, go ahead and plan that “walk out” song for when you enter your classroom on the first day of school.
Melanie Bowline, Faith Middle School & High School, Las Vegas, NV