Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Special thanks to Peggy Graff and her guests for providing this uplifting and inspiring addition to us in her Dog Days Duets series. I pray that these weekly selections will uplift your spirits and feed your soul as much as it does mine.
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. We need to see the flowers and fluff again.
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. Some years ago, a newspaper columnist asked his readers to participate in what he called an imagination test. The test included this question: “What would it be like if people had two heads?”
Children were able to respond with great creativity and imagination.
Among the answers were…
With two heads you would be able to sing a duet in the shower.
With two heads, if someone talked your head off, you would still have one left.
With two heads, I could see eye-to-eye with myself.
The problem was with the adult responses. Their answers were routine, prosaic, and could not get beyond adultish, rigid patterns. Unlike the kids, adults seemed unable to imagine the possibility that two-headed humans could even exist, much less sing duets in the shower.
Children are Playful. 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.
What would each of us give to have a prayer life modelled after a child at play? A prayer life where we are completely in the moment, we truly feel God’s presence because we are being present with God, and we believe that the impossible is possible.
Children have an innate desire to help.
Len Sweet wrote this beautiful piece:
According to Jesus, childhood 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.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
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