*photo overlay made with the vrsly app
Day 5 – Kids songs, chanting, and
My children have this thing with
clapping and chanting. I can take each one separately...clapping at
an event or in excitement; chanting Matins or even “We want a
cookie!” or some nonsense, but I can not take the two combined. You
know the sound. Little girls gathering together on the playground
doing some hand jive with repetitive words. Kids love that stuff, but
I don't think I'm the only adult that at some point hollers, “Enough
Maybe my weirdness about children's
playground chants is why the following verse stuck out to me. Maybe
it's because when I was searching the Scriptures about dancing, these
verses were in red letter, which makes most of us sit up a little
straighter. Maybe it's because it took me two good days and a few
commentaries to even begin to formulate what in the world Jesus was
saying. Whatever it was, this tiny passage seemed worthy of sharing.
Let's read Matthew 11:7-18 (the
parallel is found in Luke 7):
As they went away, Jesus began to speak to the crowds concerning
John:“What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A
reed shaken by the wind?
What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in
soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in kings'
houses. What then did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell
you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written,
I send my messenger before your face,
will prepare your way before you.’
Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no
one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the
kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the
Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and
the violent take it by force.
For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until
John, and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who
is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
“But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like
children sitting in the marketplaces and calling to their playmates,
played the flute for you, and you did not dance;
sang a dirge, and you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say,
‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking,
and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend
of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her
What a passage! It was so curious to me
that Matthew 11:17 addressed both the dancing and mourning we find in
our Ecclesiastes passage. That doesn't mean they are really
connected, but it does mean that God was poking at me to look into
Jesus speaks here about John, but he's
really addressing the crowd concerning their faith. He asks them what
they came for? What was their motivation in coming to hear John
preach and teach? He then outlines the basis for John's preaching and
teaching. He points to the Old Testament as a voices that bear the
Truth concerning who John is and more importantly who he is in
relation to Jesus.
Verse 16 gets really real. “But...”
Uh-oh. You know that kind of but. I use
that kind of but as a mom. “I gave you everything you needed to
succeed. I made you a chore chart. I laid out all your clothes. I
bought prepackaged snacks. BUT... we still can not make it to school
This is a what-in-the-world-happened
but. Jesus even uses the “what in the world” phrasing. “To what
shall I compare this generation...” Like, where do I even start?
How can I help you understand yourselves?
Jesus uses a familiar children's song
of the day, in verse 17, to help them understand. This song he uses
as a tiny lost parable.
The people of Jesus's time are a
generation of children sitting around chanting and playing on the
playground. Some of them (Jesus, John, the disciples) are doing their
thing, playing instruments, and singing. The crowd, though, is full of the
people who look at them, but do nothing. They refuse to join in. They
look at them as though their song makes no sense, their instruments
are out of place. They choose nothing over the Gospel. Nothing over a
life changed by grace.
You see, children love chants and
songs, evidently this was as true in 20AD-ish as it is in 2016AD.
When my children sing and laugh and clap together, other children
inevitably run over and desire fervently to learn the ditty. This is
John preached, Jesus taught. They were
authentic and genuine and true to the Word of the prophets and
teachers of the Law. They were the real deal, but all the people
wanted to do was watch in confusion and contempt. This is not normal
behavior when you hear the life changing message of Christ Jesus.
This is choosing nothing.
Jesus offers us so much. He offered us
His very self on the cross. He walked out of a tomb and ascended to
His Father in the heavens...so that we could LIVE.
Jesus, in this passage, invites us to
LIVE. Whether that is in songs of praise and dancing or returning
week after week hungry for His Word, or sharing comfort with His
people. He placed His Spirit in us so that we can, in fact,
When we engage in worship, when we
reach out to our brother, when we eat at His table, we are Living and
breathing Who He is to the next generation and to our own generation.
We need not be the generation of Jesus day, watchers on the
sidelines. We are Spirit-filled believers in a Holy and Living God.
Praise the Lord!
So let us go and respond. What does
that look like for you today? I don't know. It looks different for
you than it looks for me and that's a beautiful thing.
But let us Live with a capital L. Let
us sing when Jesus plays His music of Grace, respond with words of
repentance and sorrow when we see our own sin, and Dance when He
extends His ever present mercy.
Singing and dancing with you today,
sisters, in Jesus precious Name.
What chants do you remember from
What was your favorite Jesus song to
sing as a kid?
What ways has Jesus given us, in His
Spirit, to respond to Him?
Labels: abundant life, generation, praise