It is odd that the church celebrates, trains, begins families…and then on Sunday the same church divides families…toddlers here, children there, teens there, singles over here…etc.
There are times when that is helpful; and certainly noisy children are like good intentions, they should be carried out immediately.
But why divide the Body by age and marital status?
My reading of Nehemiah 8 birthed those thoughts.
Verse 2, in the English Standard Version, says, “So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard.”
Verse 3 states he read for hours and reiterates that he read “in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand.”
That verse continues with the amazing declaration that “the ears of all the people were attentive…”
Now the latter part of verse 7 may explain, at least in part, why the people were attentive…”all the people stood.”
Verses 7 and 8 dictate the duties of those who proclaim the Word, “help the people understand the Law…read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly…give the sense, so that the people understood the reading.”
So is there an age when understanding occurs? I believe it varies. Some toddlers could sit through church and gain insights; others couldn’t. But I do wonder why the very place where families begin and should be nurtured divides them?
I am not suggesting we throw the baby out with the bathwater. There is a place for separation…Nehemiah 8.13 states “the heads of fathers’ houses of all the people…came together to Ezra the scribe in order to study the words of the Law.” Sounds like a mens group to me!