Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Do Not Hinder Them

"Let the little children come to me. Do not stop them. The holy nation of God is made up of ones like these. I tell you, whoever does not receive the holy nation of God as a little child does not go into it." Mark 10:14-15

At the end of every summer for many years we have volunteered at a music festival. We provide arts and crafts for the kids that come along with their parents, many of whom are there for the whole weekend. We make God's eyes, butterflies, bead work necklaces, noise makers, fuzzy caterpillars and other simple objects that small children can take with them. Year after year, we sit in the grove, handing out yarn and teaching techniques. The kids, for the most part, are enthralled and polite while their parents can be downright obnoxious. The kids take turns and take delight in watching some small project take shape. The parents are always suggesting better ways to do things and are often bossing the staff around. The kids just want to learn and have fun. The adults only seem to want to get the most free stuff possible for the admission ticket. They rarely even look on and enjoy their own child's joy.

Jesus has been tested by the proud religious law-keepers of his day who want to test him about divorce, among other things. He answers their questions but moves towards the children that have been brought to him. The disciples were trying to keep them away, but Jesus wanted them near him. He understood that the children wanted to learn and be blessed while the adults were jockeying for control. The children came to him just as they were, arms outstretched, delighted with the nearness of Jesus. The adults were baffled as he told them that they would not get an admission ticket without having a heart like a little child -soft, pliable, vulnerable, honest and willing to learn. The adults wanted to control God's kingdom and admission to God's presence. The children just wanted to be with Jesus.

Today, I pray that I can come to God as a child rather than the know-it-all I sometimes become. I want to come to God with an open heart, and run to Jesus' open, outstretched arms. I want to let go of control and authority so that I may be touched by the living presence of the loving God. May we all let go of our adult restrictions, and once again come running with love to God. God never abandons us, never despises us, never seeks to control or harm us. May God help us all today to be so child like that God's genuine love and acceptance might shine right through us.

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