Saturday

9 November 2019

Matthew 19:13-15

But Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’ (v. 14)

Psalm: Psalm 103

Background

One of the great joys of my working life is to be involved with people who are planning their wedding or those who are bringing their children to be baptised or celebrated in the Church.

Over the years I have learned, in the latter case, that ear rings need to be left off and that I would rather a child use my large silver cross as an alternative dummy to chew on than have them remove my glasses!

To be able to hold that small life in my arms and welcome them and their family with the love of God. The privilege of pouring water on them and ‘adopting’ them into the family of God, and the thrill of blessing them in the name of Jesus. Even after 38 baptisms in the last calendar year, the celebration does not dim!

In Jesus' day, children had little value or worth until they were of an age to bring in money for the family. Infant mortality was high and is was quite normal for the mothers or grandmothers to bring the children to a visiting ‘holy man’ or teacher to be blessed.

Knowing Jesus' work load and his habit of giving to all who came, in terms of time, attention and energy, it is understandable that the disciples try to protect him by keeping these small worthless nuisances from him at the end of a busy day.

Jesus is not impressed by the adults but delights in the children – human beings still small enough to wonder at flowers and the clouds in the sky, to love without boundary and to share what they have seen and learned with those around them.

Jesus is not commenting on their childishness – those tantrums and ‘I wants’, those ‘mine not yours’ and other selfishness, but rather on their childlikeness that sees the world with wonder and awe, that is still aware of ‘other’ in the midst of the busyness of the day, and that can teach adults much about acceptance, support and sharing. These are the ones blessed by Jesus linking us back to the ‘Be’ attitudes we shared at the beginning of the week and the experiences of life we have journeyed since!

 

To Ponder:

  • Are you childlike – willing and open to learn and to share – or are you more childish, self-absorbed and closed to new things?
  • How willing are you to ask and allow God to open your eyes to see the world afresh as through the eyes of a child?

Bible notes author

The Revd Una McLean

Una is a Methodist minister currently working in Cramlington, Northumberland as part of the South East Northumberland Ecumenical Area. Before becoming a minister she worked as an occupational therapist for 20 years in fields as varied as elderly care, adult mental health and paediatrics.

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