Thursday, November 17, 2011
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “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. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire." Matthew 18:1-9
I cannot pass a playground or a park that has swings without being tempted to take time out and swing. When I was a child, I could swing for hours, losing myself to the motion, letting go of any troubles or cares. Head tilted back, watching clouds and sky, one can be free and centered, as you let go of the ground and gravity. As we get older we are burdened with cares and anxieties and find it hard to let go and be childlike. A few minutes on a swing will still bring back that magic for me, the gift of childhood, when one is totally lost in the sensation and wonder, the joy of the immediate moment.
The disciples struggle at every turn to understand Jesus' teachings and expectations, just as we do at times. He invites them to become childlike and humble, trusting completely in the generosity of God and caught up in the gifts of the present moment. It is hard for us as it was for them, because life's burdens can be heavy and we feel inadequate to carry the load. Children never expect themselves to be adequate and complete. Children expect to learn and grow. Asking for help at every turn, being humble and vulnerable, curious and caught up in the moment - this is how Jesus invites us to be in order to draw close to God. Not perfect, complete or in charge, but rather humble and open, turning to our Creator in everything.
Today I ask God to help me be more childlike, honest with my need, and open to God's invitation and response. Today, I want to practice the discipline of being a child, dependent and curious, expectant and open to growth and learning. May we all be more childlike today so that we can witness the wonder and joy that God has in store for us. May we offer our inadequacies up today so that we might marvel at God's gifts of beauty and delight.