KB Categories Archives: Ancient-Future Children

Will You Ask the Blessing? Blessing in Spirit and in Truth

Dr. Connie C. Bull:

A blessing is a circle of light drawn around a person to protect, heal, and strengthen. –John O’Donohue, Irish poet & priest (1956-2008)

Will you offer the blessing?  We hear this phrase often at mealtime, even perhaps daily. If we pause to consider, though, we realize that blessing is not only connected to meals. Throughout the Bible, blessing is connected to belonging.[1] Our common speech patterns, however, do not imply belonging when we are quick to say “Bless his heart” or “Lord, bless her” when speaking of a personality flaw in someone. Instead, we are covertly lying to hide the disdain we feel under the surface.  Thus, we have twisted the biblical meanings what it is to bless; blessings are to be prayers for deliverance and a “made-new worldview” as we bless in Jesus’ name, our Deliverer.

The Old Testament uses nine different meanings of the term “bless” including greeting/leavetaking in peace, prevailing power over enemies, wisdom, prosperity, benediction, transfer of power, respect, praise, and thanksgiving.  In the New Testament, Christ embodies these, and blesses into belonging both young and old in His ministry. Jesus’ last earthly act was blessing (Luke 24:51)—a ministry for more than church staff, but rather for all Christ’s followers to continue.

[1] Claus Westermann, Blessing in the Bible and the Life of the Church, trans. Keith Crim (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1978), 19.

Want to read the rest of Connie’s wonderful work? Please click the “Read More” link below.


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Choosing Children Weekly in Worship— Part 1: Gathering

Connie C. Bull:

Henri Nouwen reminds us that “person” in English is fashioned from the Latin words “per” and “sonare”— literally,  a person is a “sounding through.”  Children are persons, though not always in history were they acknowledged so.  According to Deut. 29:10-12, God required children to be present to establish His covenant: (10)All of you are standing today in the presence of the LORD your God—your leaders and chief men, your elders and officials, and all the other men of Israel, (11)together with your children and your wives, and the foreigners living in your camps…(12) You are standing here in order to enter a covenant with the LORD your God…

Worship in Spirit and in truth is about God sounding through all who worship, regardless of age.  If we are to cease the worship war and calm the roar of the lions amid our lambs, Isaiah 11:5-7 assures us that  “a little child shall lead them.”

How can children lead in the worship elements of the Gathering of God’s people to worship?  Let us count the ways! (more…)

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Children and the Call to the Ancient-Future Church


Connie Bull:

Across the years, the ages have had different views of life’s beginning stages.  David F. Lancy, professor of world civilizations and cultural anthropology at Utah State University, identifies three of these views of children:  cherubs, chattel, and changelings.

  • Chattel: the view of those who want children “seen and not heard” because they are little more than a nuisance, devoid of value until after puberty.
  • Cherubs:  the view of those who overly romanticize childhood; children are to be appreciated from a maudlin, sentimental standpoint; and cherished only for their “cute” factor.
  • Changelings:  the view of those suspicious of what children are “up to”; children are seen as devious, untrustworthy, mercurial, and almost alien in nature.

There are yet two other views of children in the latter 20th century which are being threaded into today’s various worship tapestries: (more…)

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