Monday, March 22, 2010

Receiving Children

“If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” Mark 9:35-37

Living with others is a messy proposition. Living with children is a whole other thing entirely. The amount of noise and mess when there are more than a few children under one roof can be astounding and overwhelming. Fights, laughter, songs, plays, dances and fevers can break out at any moment. To welcome a child means to welcome some delightful chaos and to see the world from the dirt up rather than from the loft and stiffness of adulthood. It means to crawl around, put your coat on from the floor and spend endless hours searching for brushes, shoes and school books. And it means delighting in small victories and finding joy in cupcakes and bubbles. Welcoming a child means drawing close to dirt and smells, and to uncontrollable giggles. And Jesus said when we welcome one such as these we welcome God. Unbelievable, that the mess of humanity and the overwhelming cacophony of children might just usher in the presence of God.

The disciples were arguing over who was greatest and that is when Jesus picked up the child. I wonder, as my brother and sister bishops wrestle with questions theological and doctrinal, whether God doesn't wander off looking for a child. Like all disciples, it is easy for our discussions to get off course. And even easier off course when there is no child, no mess nor noise to usher in God. I pray that their hearts might be childlike so God can find a way in.

Today, with challenges piling up, it would be easy to organize my life entirely and to brush away all hints of disorder, mess and noise. It might solve a few problems. But it will not invite God into this place. And so today, I ask God to help me be child like, arms up in the air, legs running towards love and a heart open to the glorious mess and noise in my life. May we all welcome God as one of these little ones today.

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