I remember clearly to this day, seeing the image of our youngest child, sixteen weeks in utero, kicking like a trained swimmer. The situation was anything but joyous, as I had a very bad test result and the doctors presumed that several things were wrong with her. I watched her kick, on the finest equipment the Harvard medical folks had, and I saw a glimpse of the child that was emerging, the person who was already fully formed and fragile beyond imaging. It took five weeks to get the results of that amneo, and I was frightened and wrestling with God throughout. I was in my second year of seminary, wanting to be completely formed myself, longing to be the best mother and priest possible. And this child was a special gift in that formative time. The nurse called to tell me she was fine and perfect and we didn't need to worry. I cried storms of tears - joy, release and awe for the fragile beings we all are.
I know that each of us is formed in the image of God and that no one can say otherwise. We are perfectly made in God's eyes, and we are free to emerge and become the fully complete wonders that God has made each of us to be. Many times, as I sat in the stands watching my youngest child swim, first at lessons and then on swim teams through high school, I remember clearly that day, and her kicking. She kicks exactly the same way she did when she was ever so small and completely unseen.
Jesus encounters concern about the Temple tax and declares to his disciples that the children are free. He then sends Peter fishing for a coin to be extracted from a fish to pay the temple tax -in order not to offend. We live in a world that would restrict children and tax the joy out of love and worship. We struggle within human institutions that prize tradition over the creativity which springs from God. We are free, all the children of God are free, and the bars, barriers and restrictions are made by the hands of humans. Humans who are afraid and need to control rather than delight in God's creations.
May today be a day of delight. May you be free and may the children be free. To squeal and sleep, to dance and to dream. God has hidden a school full of coins in fishes around the globe so as not to offend. Our job is to rejoice in freedom we have and delight in God's presence and blessing in our midst.