One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him. But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left. – Matthew 19:13-15
Posting this week is going to be inconsistent at best; but for good reason – it’s, “Grand-kids at Maul-Hall” week, and that means a state of constant exhaustion with pretty-much no time to do anything other than be grandaddy.
At this precise moment, however, David and Beks are down for a well-deserved nap (well-deserved for me, that is).
So far the visit has been blessed with clear skies and fall-like temperatures, which translates into outdoor time, and even more room for their imaginations to make the most of every possibility, to make adventures out of cardboard boxes, to play hard, to eat ravenously, to sleep hard, and to wake up eager to do it all again.
Their grand-mama, Rebekah, is the queen of telling stories, and playing games, and wringing the most fun out of the narrowest of opportunities. I’ve often thought that Rebekah would have made the most amazing school-teacher (any age) – if God hadn’t called her to be the most remarkable of preachers.
MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST: Of course, Rebekah’s great gift is that of inviting others into the grand adventure that is life lived to the utmost. It’s the same message both for kids and adult seekers of the Living Way; it’s one of the reasons she has done so consistently well in ministry; and it’s why people respond so positively to her preaching. In a world where so much of religion (and politics) fails to ring true, and is built on criticism, division, cynicism, judgment, one-upmanship, finger-pointing, and exclusion, Rebekah’s message is overwhelmingly invitational, life-affirming, reconciling, and authentic; it’s exactly how she approaches the children.
And, come to think of it, that is exactly how Jesus parsed the good news of the Gospel… and the children responded pretty well to him too.
Children have a way of seeing through the falsehood, the posturing, the in-authenticity, the attempts at manipulation, and the outright lies. Kids can smell a fake a mile off.
Neither Rebekah nor I are perfect at anything we do – but we do give our grandchildren, and our church, our best honest selves. We share our own faith, our struggles, our contradictions, our assurance, our fears, our dreams, our triumphs, our failings, our questions.
Some people forget the words of Jesus – “The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children…” – When I watch Rebekah with our grandchildren, I hear them all over again.