…Let the little children come to me…for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as they are.
Jesus had been on a journey of presence and healing. Taking away pain and disease. Leaders were trying to discredit him, trick him up with the letter of the law. It was nearing the end of the day, and people were bringing their children – moms likely – bringing them for a blessing – a blessing from this man Jesus, who seemed to be about healing.
The disciples were trying to protect him, they could see how tired he was, exhausted really, from trying to be present and respond to all that was brought to him. And now children! You can just imagine how the disciples would say, No – he has no energy left for active, energetic children!!!
I just spent a week with my grandchildren, five in total, one boy and four girls; two ten year olds, two eight year olds and one six year old. Talk about energy! Go, go, go; do, do, do! At the end of each day, my husband and I were exhausted; at the end of the week, we were wiped out! We sat and enjoyed the quiet… But then we started to go back over the week… how happy they were to see us, to share some stories of what they had been doing of late; our walks through the neighborhood and the nearby woods and their excitement at all the ‘critters’ we encountered – including two rather large deer (and how quiet the kids could be)! We remembered the water balloon fights where ALL of us were soaking wet and laughing (aren’t those new water balloons wonderful – you can fill 20 at one time!). We remembered the trip to the bookstore and the precious time of reading to them. We remembered their giggling, their wonder and awe – even in the midst of some whining!
Yes, we remembered those words of Jesus, let the children come to me, for the Kingdom belongs to them. We introduce them to God and teach them about God; they re-introduce us to God and remind us of how we ‘encounter’ God!!!
Faith Offman is the Associate Director of Ministry at St. Paul of the Cross Passionist Retreat and Conference Center in Detroit, Michigan.