Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world; red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in his sight; Jesus loves the little children of the world. Long tradition tells us that little children are close to Jesus; that only they (or ones like them) will know God. In all the gospels, the experience of heaven is likened to the innocence and unknowing wonder of children. It makes a life of faith, following Jesus, seem so simple. Easy; just be a child. But it wasn’t simple when the gospels were written, nor is it simple today. There are very mixed views of childhood.
Think about not only the powerlessness of children, but also the ways in which they are leveraged and manipulated in our society. Why would Jesus ascribe to them the ability to draw closer to the reign of God? The dramatic claim is the same today as it was 2000 years ago. It is the gospel’s reversal of what appears logical. Those with money, influence and weapons will not be those who know heaven, or are changed by the touch of God. That currency doesn’t buy connection with God. What does is the gentleness of love, wonder, and humility, exemplified by children. While it is hard for grown-ups (we who know so much) to imagine a return to childhood, this is not about being child-ish. It is about being child-like; recovering a life of trust, play and knowing joy, without a spectrum of manufactured fears about what the world might do to us, followed by death. It’s a special kind of immortality. Be a child.
Peace and grace to you in all things,