The number of children lining the steps leading up to our altar for the Children’s Message seems to grow each Sunday! Liz Sweeney, our Director of Programs for Children & Families, does a terrific job and God bless her, because I never quite know what to expect or how the children will respond to her questions. Give me the pulpit any day instead!
Children are spontaneous, curious, open, honest, playful, brave, and forgiving. They rarely hold grudges (at least not for long), and they trust that all will be well in the end. All they really want is for somebody to love them, and they surely seem to know when that love is genuine and offer it back in kind.
We adults, on the other hand, seem to live our lives on the edge with constant worry, anxiety, and fear. We assign judgments to almost anything and everything. We are anxious about work, money, and relationships. We fear that we will let others down or they will let us down; that we will not be accepted, respected, or admired. The list goes on and on, but you get the point, don’t you?
In our Gospel lesson this Sunday, people are bringing their little children to Jesus to be blessed, but the disciples aren’t having it. In those days, children were considered to be among the least in importance; barely seen and rarely recognized. The disciples begin to shoo the children away, but Jesus is adamant about their presence: “Let the little children come to me,” he says, “do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”
Every child deserves the safety, wonder, and hopefulness of their young life. While adulthood certainly brings its share of burdens and responsibilities, we might do well to take a few lessons from the children in our midst: be spontaneous, curious, open, honest, playful, forgiving; don’t hold a grudge, take a risk, trust, love, and be loved.
And Jesus took them in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them. Mark 10:16
Grace and peace,