Children, God and The Kingdom

cute_kids_cute_play-wideThe Baptism was going well, when out of the corner of my eye I noticed one of the grandparents wrestling (figuratively), with her young grand-daughter trying to keep her quite in church. The child was getting louder and louder, and the Grandma was getting more and more irate. All the young child wanted was to be with its mum, who was one of the God parents of the baby I was baptising.

Earlier in the service we had heard the bible reading from Marks gospel, where Jesus says, “let the little children come to me, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these”. It appeared no one recalled what had been said or what it might mean, and so I beckoned to the grandma to let the girl go to her mum rather than continue her currently unsuccessful course of action. Of course the child calmed down and was more than happy in her mothers arms.

As I remember the children at the christening and watch my own kids on holiday charging around, deeply committed to the moment and delight of imaginative play. Where sticks become swords,  cracks in pavements are to be jumped over otherwise the monster gets you and where rocks or bits of dirt actually becomes priceless treasure, that no adult could ever comprehend! I began to ponder as to what Jesus might mean by “the Kingdom Of God belongs to such as these”.

Children are messy, whimsy, fanciful, prone to repetitive outbursts like ‘are we there yet,’ and ‘can I get it,’ they are also, fearless in play, insightful, loyal and loving. A child can see new worlds and adventures in their surroundings, they don’t understand cynicism but say whats on their heart in the moment they are feeling it.

Yet can we really take Jesus words seriously and the person who recorded his words into the gospels? Surely to have the keys to the kingdom so to speak, the individual should bare the fruits of the spirit, have the wisdom and theological learning needed to fully appreciate God, and of course be filled with the Holy Spirit and have put their faith fully in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

However could Jesus be actually saying to enter into heaven or see Gods kingdom around us we need to be as imaginative as children, trusting as children, hopeful as children, ready to be guided by someone bigger than ourselves, like children.

Yet perhaps alternatively an image of Gods Kingdom we represent across christian denominations is something instead that is terribly grownup. That at its worse disregards those very attributes Jesus extols. A person who knows they are a child of God and not equal and feels safe with that, someone who want to grow up into the greatness he or she sees in their parent, someone sees possibilities impossibly bigger than their own abilities and skills and is not afraid of asking for help.

Perhaps take a moment today, to look around you to where God might be, allow yourself to be reminded that you are a child of God. Allow God to break you out of your moulded crafted religious lives. Into new possibilities, new ways of looking at life and the Kingdom God is calling is towards and into.

God for it…:)

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