What are the theologians saying about children? This question is not often askedand is off the mark anyway. The question is, What are children saying about theology?
The contributions of children to theology are not organized or complete. They are nevertheless present and valuable among us. They come as the fruit of children's rich and unique relationship with God. They are signs along the Way-pointing to the heart of our faith, pointing to God. I've been guided by many such signs in my work as a catechist with young children.
Love and the Power of God
At age 5, Lizzy drew a picture in church one day. It included a happy little girl, a cross with Jesus on it, three sad faces in the sky at the top of the picture, a rainbow, 30 hearts, and the words "God's love" around one of the hearts. When I asked Lizzy about her picture, she said:
Jesus is on the cross, the hearts are love. The girl is me, with love around me. The people at the top are praying, they are sad because of Jesus on the cross. This [a circle of hearts in different colors] is God's power.
Young children are rich in love. Lizzy shows this in her picture with herself surrounded by love, Jesus surrounded by love, and the compassionate sadness of his friends because he is on the cross. But the cross is a relatively small part of the picture; love abounds, and love is powerful.
One of the ways children have surprised me is that some of their favorite songs communicate confidence in God's love in the midst of life's trials. "On the Wings of a Dove," "Bells of Norwich," and "Alleluia, the Great Storm is Over" are three songs that are requested repeatedly. The chorus of "Bells of Norwich" includes the words,
Ring out Bells of Norwich and let the winter come and go
All shall be well again I know.