Thursday, November 19, 2009
Like A Child
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:3-4
One of the blessings (and sometimes challenges) of serving as clergy in the town where I grew up, is that there are many people who knew me as a child. It was especially apparent the other night at the Celebration of new ministry. Folks from the church where my Dad served came to sing in the choir and sit in the congregation. I was an infant when we came to Harrison, so many of these folks had witnessed a good deal of my growing years - the joys and the sorrows, the awkward and the more awkward times. Being a clergy kid is never easy. Being a clergy kid returning to the community that knew me as a child can be even more of the challenge. It can be a challenge if I have some puffed up, "I am a different person now" sense of things. In fact, being with people who have known me for a long time was humbling and also completely affirming. How blessed I felt that knowing me well, they would still come and celebrate. How blessed and humbled I was to realize they would support me through thick and thin.
The disciples are trying to sort out who is the greatest and they are stunned to find out that Jesus considers children above all of the classy, elegant and learned people. Jesus reminds them, if they would be great, they should be like a child - honest, humble and willing to ask for help and be themselves. That is really hard for adults to do - we want to be put together and on top of our game at all times. And yet we are not ever, really. Being here, I have learned anew what it means to be like a child. There is no denial and no pretensions when one is known so well. And it is our open, vulnerable self that God can work with and use.
Today, I am grateful for this place and the opportunity to be known and loved for who I am. I am thankful for people willing to minister with me in this place. And I am thankful to God for giving me a community of support and witness. May this be a day where we give thanks for all the people in our lives who nurture us and love us just as we are.