“As I went down in the river to pray studying about that good old way and who shall wear the robe and crown good lord show me the way. Oh brothers let’s go down… down in the river to pray.” – Down in the River. I love that song it moves my soul. I heard a college group who sang it without music. My daughter listened to it with me. I was explaining to her that I think it means let’s go down in the Jordan to learn about Christ. The song actually invites sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers to go down in the river. We are invited by so many different people to pray, to find God and to live a new life baptized and bathed in His eternal love. We are invited by priests, ministers, preachers and laity of different Churches and religions.
If you have not gone down in the river yet today think about it. It is not just people who are inviting you to know God it is God extending the invitation.
My 6 year old son asked me questions about heaven and hell last night because we recently lost his beloved Great Grandma Gin. He said “I know Great Grandma is in heaven mommy. But I heard hell is a place with fire and you can see the gates of heaven and God from the fire. Why Mommy?” I explained to him as simply as I could “Sin is anything…anything that takes you away from God. So if you sin all your life and never say you’re sorry to God and never try to change then you are not trying to have a relationship with God. If you choose to do that all your life then you may go to hell. Hell is a place where you are completely without God. Jake, I can’t think of anything worse than being without God, can you?”
“Mommy, God is always with us He is inside us all the time. I would not want to be away from Him ever.” He responded. “Jake, you are a good boy and you know God. When you mess up, and we all do, tell Him you are sorry and try to be better and God will forgive you. You just like Great Grandma will be with God in heaven some day.” He hugged me tightly and told me good night.
My children have that security of God being with them always. I have taught them since infancy that God is with them whether I am or not. They have the gift of faith and the presence of family as well as a strong faith community of believers who believe and support them in prayer and faith. They have gone down to the river to pray.
There is nothing more important you can give a child than your faith. God will love them, guide them and nurture them for a lifetime. But as parents it is our responsibility to invite them to God. “Children let’s go down come on down, let’s go down in the river to pray.”