Understanding, saying yes, to the holiness of children means acknowledging the imago dei, the image of God in which each person is made.
Accepting the holiness of children means also accepting the holiness which is part of each of us.
Seeing in each one the image of God means our relationships change, our interactions are challenged, our lives transformed.
Knowing children as holy does not mean they (or we) are perfect, incapable of sin. It means acknowledging each person as a Godbearer.
Acknowledging that God’s grace has had an encompassing redemptive effect means including all.
Much is said about children in the Bible. Over the centuries, the focus has been upon those OT references to training up and disciplining children. Discipling has the same root but a very different orientation, for this is loving children into obedience.
Jesus has very stern words to say to those who would get between him and children as well as powerful words of affirmation to say about children. These include by implication actual children in years of age and children in faith whatever their age.
There are three basic ways of looking at children, out of which are formed our thoughts about and interactions with them and by extension with all ages:
-Children are born into sin and have a bent toward evil – we do to children.
-Children are born unformed clay or blank slates – we do for children as we form them.
-Children are born holy, in the image of God with unfolding potential as well as immediate revelatory standing – we do with children; walking along side them as they develop into all God has in store for them; delighting in learning from them as well as teaching them.
Hans Rudi Weber, once head of the World Council of Churches, says that a close reading of the Gospel passages where Jesus is in the company of children express the very heart of the Christian gospel. Jesus, says simply, “Look at these little ones, these children. They ARE the Kingdom of God in your midst.”