The Lectionary Gospel this week is from Mark 9:30-37, the story of Jesus discussing the disciples’ argument about being the greatest. Taking a child, he placed them in the center of the gathering and explained that welcoming a child is to welcome Christ and welcoming a child is what it means to be great. There is another story of Jesus in which he rebukes the disciples for sending the children away from him, calling them back, and reminding his followers that to such belong the reign of heaven. In line with this idea of honoring children, I share with you the essay, “Come as a Child.”
“Come, Jesus said with that Jesus twinkle, like a child, wide-eyed and open-palmed and there, he exclaimed with that broad Jesus smile, there will you find the reign of Heaven. And he threw back his head and laughed his Jesus laugh while children played at his feet. And slowly and bitterly the adults walked away squinting their eyes and clinching their fists because they could not believe.
Come as a child and expect a surprise or a gift of some magical friend whom you fell asleep waiting for. Believe that dragons are real, that animals talk, and that dreams come true. Believe that oceans will part with the wave of your finger and mountains will move by the sound of your softest whisper; that rocks will cry out, that deserts will bloom. Wake in the morning believing that you will discover some new secret hiding in a corner of your room.
Come as a child expecting the best in the people you meet. Believing that there is good in all because evil and mistrust hasn’t taken hold of your heart. Come being ready for a miracle on Christmas, on Easter, on Pentecost or just a Tuesday. Come asking questions just for the sake of asking and then wait believing that an answer will come.
Come as a child bearing and sharing all your feelings. Screaming when you are mad. Crying when you are sad. And laughing, o child laugh, though it may be silent around you and your timing is off. Run and hug someone just because you remembered it is someone you love. When you are frightened go and find a friend. And never be afraid to be afraid.
Color out of lines in red or purple or sunny bright yellow. Dance when there’s no music, save that tune beating in your head and sing out loud and off key just because that’s how you feel.
Come, Jesus says with that Jesus twinkle, like a child. Open your eyes, he says with that broad Jesus smile, hold out your hands and there, he says, there will you find the reign of heaven. And he throws back his head and laughs his Jesus laugh, inviting us to play at his feet.”
You are the light of the world.
NMCC Conference Director