Unless We Become Like Children
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Being a mom has put in my touch with my imperfections in a way that I had never previously imagined. Our daughter Eliza, who is approaching two and a half, is fond of imaginary play in which she recreates her experiences of interacting with adults in the previous days and weeks. Sometimes she will offer tea and gladly prepare an alternative if I seem dissatisfied with the imaginary option she has presented. There are also times when she will take a harsh tone when she reenacts the previous nights’ bedtime routine. It can feel like a mirror into my best and worst self because she will reveal compassion or impatience, inquiry or rigidity depending on what was offered to her. I want to imagine that what I bring as a parent is always my best, but it turns out that it isn’t.
There is hardly a week where I don’t think of what Jesus said about children. We don’t know if he ever had kids of his own, but regardless, in the Gospel of Matthew, we read, “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. “
Maybe Jesus asks us to be like children because they often hold the truth more clearly, reflecting back to us with clarity which aspects of ourselves were revealed. T Unless we change, unless we see where we fall short, unless we reclaim wonder, unless we become like children, there is a heaven’s worth of experiences we miss.
Prayer: God of love and life and possibilities beyond comprehension, build in us a child-like capacity to wonder and laugh. Change us to to be vessels of your presence even in the face of imperfection. Where we are willing, find the door within us. Amen.