Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
Matthew 19:13-15 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Jesus Blesses Little Children
13 Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; 14 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.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went on his way.
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
In a culture where children had no standing, Jesus held children up as examples of what it means to live as a child of God in the realm of God, the kingdom of God. What are some reasons that Jesus might do that? What about children makes them examples for adults? Here are a few examples:
Children have a sense of wonder. When adults look at a dandelion patch, we see a bunch of weeds that threaten to take over our yard. Children see flowers for Mom and white fluff you can blow away after you make a wish.
Children are curious and teachable. They are curious enough to ask aloud the questions many of us have. Children, by their nature, like to learn. They are driven by a passionate curiosity. One study in the UK showed that the average number of questions asked per day by 1,000 kids in their study, ages 2-10, was 288.
A hardened heart and a closed mind is detrimental to faith.
Children are truthful. They have a guileless way of speaking truth to power. (It was a child, after all, who told the emperor he wasn’t wearing any clothes.) In a society that often values irony, they are countercultural in their sincerity.
Children are imaginative. When I spend time with our grandchildren, I have the great joy of entering into a world of imagination where the impossible is possible.
Children are Playful. In our church we have a framework for discipleship that we call Healthy Plate Discipleship. The image is a balanced diet of six discipleship practices: Worship, Pray, Give, Serve, Learn, and Play. Some of our greatest minds have celebrated the power of play—a power children innately understand.
Albert Einstein said, “Play is the highest form of research.”
Carl Jung said, “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.”
Fred Rogers said, “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”
Think about times when you’ve truly been engaged in play. You lose all track of time. You are completely in the moment. You are present to those with whom you are playing. You enter a realm untethered by limitations. Anything is possible.
Children have an innate desire to help.
Len Sweet wrote this beautiful piece as part of his sermon entitled “There Will be no Adults in Heaven”:
According to Jesus, interacting with the world with the heart, mind, and spirit of a child was like stepping into the kingdom of God itself.
The heart of a child:
offers love and seeks love;
opens spontaneously to others;
dreams big dreams,
trusts more, fears less.
The mind of a child:
accepts that there is still much to learn;
wonders at every bit of the world;
takes nothing for granted;
asks endless questions;
finds new answers, sees new paths, seek new solutions.
The spirit of a child:
sees miracles everywhere, everyday;
seeks to connect itself to others;
is constantly amazed by life.there will be no adults in heaven
There is a lot of theology woven into hymns. To enhance today’s reading, I recommend listening to “Tell Me the Stories of Jesus”.
Tell me the stories of Jesus
I love to hear;
Things I would ask Him to tell me
If He were here:
Scenes by the wayside,
Tales of the sea,
Stories of Jesus,
Tell them to me.
First let me hear how the children
Stood round His knee,
And I shall fancy His blessing
Resting on me;
Words full of kindness,
Deeds full of grace,
All in the love-light
Of Jesus’ face.
Into the city I’d follow
The children’s band,
Waving a branch of the palm tree
High in my hand;
One of his heralds,
Yes, I would sing
“Jesus is King!”
I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul. I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster