The question comes to Jesus: “Who is the greatest?” His answer? He calls a little child forward and says that unless we change and become like children we will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Children are playful and carefree – they are insightful and creative. I learn this lesson daily having my office in the midst of our SPARK after-school program, which during the summer is an all day program of fun and learning. This year the theme is the Olympics, as the Summer Olympic Games are coming up pretty soon. The kids have chosen countries, and are learning about their adopted country. I pushed for the Congo because of my favorite Thunder player. But none of the classes took me up on that offer.
Not surprisingly a lot of the activities feature these kids full of energy. And their energy and excitement never seem to run dry. Sometimes I will be on the phone with one of you and you will come to know that, for a sea of giggles and excitement from the hall come spilling into my office. Of course I leave the office door open. Why wouldn’t I?!?! Yes, it can be distracting at times, but SOOOO worth it. I leave that door open so they can pop in and say HI, but also for the shear joy of sharing in their excitement.
Spending every summer in their midst reminds me why Jesus puts children in such a revered position. Often we mock children and youth, for their innocence and fervor, and being ignorant or oblivious to politics and church fights.
But it is their very spirit which may save us. Children crave togetherness. They exhibit hope and joy at almost every turn (Yes they can be toots, but the good far outweighs the bad, especially when they are allowed simple carefree moments to be themselves). The church needs a good dose of focusing on joy and togetherness, and not worrying so much about the things we worry about.