People were bringing little children to Jesus in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
This reading resonates with me for several reasons; firstly because as the age old saying goes “we are all children of God”; the second reason is because I still don’t consider myself to be an adult; and thirdly because I was a children’s and youth worker before I trained as a CRCW.
I am passionate about the inclusion of children and young people at the heart of church; whether that be in Communion; decision making regarding how we live out our faith in terms of social justice, social action and equity for all; or recognising that children and young people are part of the Church today and not only the Church of tomorrow. Children and young people enable us to see things differently. They ask the questions many adults won’t ask because of fear.
Jesus in this passage reminds us that we don’t have to pretend to know all the answers, have the deepest faith or be too serious. Children have eyes of wonder that reflect the awesomeness of God. They have an innate spirituality. Jesus calls us all to reconnect with our inner child, to come to Him humbly, with joy, excitement and anticipation in our hearts and minds.
So be childlike, knowing that God has seen us all of our lives, has walked with us and before us and in times of great pain and tiredness has carried us as a parent or guardian carries a sleeping child. Revel in the freedom of knowing that God calls to your inner child to join Him on the journey and embrace him fully.
Loving God, We are your children on this earth, We make mistakes as children do, We laugh as children do and we cry as children do. Your love is as unconditional and as deep as that of a parent. We pray that you will keep us close to you as a mother does a newborn, guiding our feet along the journey of life. Amen.
Kirsty-Ann Mabbott is a Church Related Community Worker serving in Bettws URC/St David’s Church in Wales in Newport, South Wales.