Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them

Troubles from all around us. But the worse are the ones that come unexpected.

My daughter already called me few times to complain of amazing things which are happening to her in the land of Serbia.

But before I tell you of the amazing things that my daughter is complaining about, I must tell you how my child ended up in the land of Serbia.

Almost a year has passed since my son in law and daughter and their five children, grandma’s and grandpa’s sweet little angels, packed up and moved to the fatherland. Canadian school system is awful, godless, and perverted, and they will not – their conscious – they said – does not allow them – that in such society their children should grow and develop. Serbia is a blessed land, an oasis in the world’s desert, where children can grow and get educated in a healthy and natural environment. For there still western perversions have not yet infiltrated.

We did not agree with them, because, unfortunately, the winds of globalization are spreading its destructive dust and polluting eyes and souls all around. It is tough to find cover from it, even in the land of Serbia. Every time I was in Serbia, I was horrified that it, unfortunately, became a world’s garbage dump. Through their exhausts, better not say colon, the west is blowing on to our mother Serbia, it’s worst exhaust fumes. Serbians, damned, unconsciously soak everything in. Nonsense is very quickly adopted, while that which is good that the west offers: work, assiduity, perseverance, etc…do not seem to find fertile ground.

That our son in law and daughter will realize that, is only a matter of time, as we hope.

In the meantime, I will leave aside big misfortunes and troubles, and tell you of grievances that the parents of our five little angels are at this moment and foremost bothered and troubled by.

I say to you how, many times already, daughter of mine complained about , and pretty alarmingly last time, how she was forced not to bring her kids to Serbian church.

The reason?

As she went to the church, kids being kids, one runs one way, the other the other way, third will say something, while the first one would start crying… And I will not go on.

And than, the elderly, old crows, will start badgering the poor kids and reek havoc on to them. They would leave God and service aside and start holding lectures. In the middle of the church and in the middle of the service. And to top it all off, the priest, standing at the altar is giving the kids ‘the look’. My daughter was left with nothing else to do except get the kids and them outside. There she was joined with other mother in the same predicament. It happened once, twice, third time, and so my child asked herself; What is the point of taking the kids to church if they are being kicked out on a regular basis?

These events, involving my grandchildren, take me back to the times of yesteryear, when my children where in their early childhood. That same daughter of mine, as she would set foot in St.Marc’s church, and saw her father at the altar, would yell on the top of her little voice; Daddy! Daddy! And old lady’s of that time – and it seems that old lady’s are always and everywhere the same – Gods servants and church cops, would jump on the kind as if it was some kind of criminal.

That personal experience of mine, prompted me to instil in everyones head, in the church where I was a priest and an elder and have held services until recently, that to every child everything must be allowed. Come, see, and convince yourselves; I can not imagine a more pleasant, spiritual, god loving atmosphere, than of that in our sweet little church. That natural, spontaneous, if you will, family atmosphere, urged even our patriarch, while he was visiting us last year, to express his admiration. He made a comparison with huge and cold cathedrals and said that the walls do not a church make, warm hart full of prayer do.

So, in that little church, small children, sweet angels, chatter and play among themselves, play with their toy cars on the floor, and no one seems to be bothered by it.

Some time ago, a mother brought her son. He screamed on the top of his lungs, and could not be calmed down. Poor mother ran out with the child. When I saw that, I stopped the liturgy and ordered her to come back. And I told the people; If we, who claim to posses so much love, are not capable to embrace one child with that same love, than what are we here talking about. Now, that same boy is the favourite one in our congregation, an altar boy who instructs new kids how to behave at the altar.

Last week a son of my successor, skips to the altar, mumbled something, jumped up on the raised part of the altar, and went back to his mothers arms. I can only imagine what would have happened had two or three old lady’s yelled and jumped to get the kid by the ear.

And it is those very kids on which our new congregation of Canadian diocese is based. It has been heard by many that in that church, located there and there, children are really welcome. And it is where children are allowed to be children.

And what happens? Kids grow up fast. A two year old becomes a three year old, and than a four year old , and soon is standing right next to its parents, and comes to the altar and helps with the service, and in its place comes some new hero, who was in his mothers belly, what seems only few days ago, while she was attending the church. And so one, and so forth, God willing, and their children’s children.

Out of my on curiosity, my dear church cops, I went through the birth register of our Toronto church community. Since it was founded many thousand of kids have been baptized. Descended from so and so Serbian family, with names and last names. From all the thousands of those children, some of them who are of retirement age today, not one can be found. Second generation of “proud Serbs”, “steel heroes”, “warriors for the holy cross”, and all the others,those who maintain a connection to their church can all be counted on the fingers of two or three hands. I know them all, and can name them all by their first and last names.

Where are they? A wind has blown them away on all sides. And maybe some of them were drawn away by some old cop-granny or an equally unpleasant priest, who made them dislike their own church.

How can a child grow to love that church if it is always reminded by bad memories of rebuke and scornful looks.

To all of those Serbian gloomy priests, if they would listen, I would advise the following. Sure, thank the Lord, our churches are full. (Although, make no mistake, that is only a small percentage of Serbian people). But my brothers, one by one, they will go their way. The church will be more quiet and spacious. If these children, which are you so easily forcing out of the churches, do not replace their grandmothers and grandfathers, you will have no one to hold your sermons to. I wish peace to all, but had it not been for the unfortunate storms of previous decades, there would not be any people in these empty Canadian churches of ours.

We know of Christ’s order to set his children free and allow them to come. (Mt. 19, 14) Many beautiful sermons have been written on that subject. So it has been said, so many times, how Christ scorned his apostles as they stood between him and his children in their quest for their own peace and silence. So we should follow the words of Christ, that if we are not like children (1. Kor. 14.20)- we shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven. (Mt. 18, 3)

We should knock ourselves on the head, and realize that we are doing that which is against God. We are standing between them and God, and are trying that children become like us. Did any of the church cops stop to think if Christ asked to receive only the quiet and sterile children?

To my own daughter and son in law I am sending a message that as you see, publicly; If they continue this way, to force you out of the church, quickly come this way, where still, your small, sweet church awaits.