Daily Worship

Being there

James Cathcart March 03, 2023 2 0
Image credit: Unsplash
Listen to this daily worship

Hosea 11: 1-4 (NRSVA)

1 When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and out of Egypt I called my son.
2 The more I called them,
    the more they went from me;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals,
    and offering incense to idols.

3 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
    I took them up in my arms;
    but they did not know that I healed them.
4 I led them with cords of human kindness,
    with bands of love.
I was to them like those
    who lift infants to their cheeks.
    I bent down to them and fed them.

Teaching a very young child to do something is quite different to teaching a colleague, or a friend, or a partner. And not just because in the latter group there are reduced (if not eliminated…) chances of tantrums, tears and tiny plastic trucks flying through the air.

The differ in one fundamental respect. When teaching the older group, the information is overwhelmingly going in one direction: towards the person being taught. A good teacher pays attention to feedback but the bulk of the information is going one way.

But when teaching a very young child the flow of information is completely reversed. You may be able to impart a bit of wisdom here and there but the vast flood of data is coming from them — not you. Young children are too busy thrumming with life to just sit there and be taught at! Teaching them is sitting on the shore absorbing wave after wave of what they happen to be feeling, thinking and experiencing.

Young children ‘are’ at full volume. An ocean current of information swelling from the taught to the teacher. You can try to map something/anything on to the waves but you cannot set the tide going. How could you? It’s the tide.

Young children simply ‘are’ and often we can only hope to ‘be’ with them and for that to be enough. Much is made of how young children are like sponges picking up lots of stuff around them. This is true but they are also oceans constantly pouring out — to be a young child is to be a song and a landslide and a storm and a standup routine and a deluge and a monologue and a downpour.

Teaching things to young children isn’t about breaking down the theory or developing a syllabus. It’s about loving someone in all their movement and catching them when they fall. God knows this, taking our hand, coming along with us.

God loves you like that.




Dear God,

You love us in our movement

all over the place and endearing.

We thank you for your tender care.


Lent Disciplines


We begin by focusing on ‘place’ — one of the themes in the first week of our Daily Worship. Pray this week for people who feel they don’t have a place, that they might start to feel they belong. Pray for places that need restoration and repair. Pray that we take good care of the places entrusted to us.