With the Eyes of a Child
And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. Mark 10:13-16
Does it seem like we have been here before? Yes, In a way, we have. It is a mash-up of two bLOGS (published 2022.03.07 and 2022.03.08) where the disciples are arguing over who is the greatest, and Jesus pulls a child into their midst, wraps his arms around him, and commands that they receive the one like this (the least) in his name.
Once again, the disciples are doing just the opposite of what Jesus taught them only twenty-four verses ago! Note: There were no verse numbers in Mark’s time. According to this translation, Jesus is “indignant” towards their behavior, but the Greek leads you to something more substantial like the word “incensed.” Let’s say, “Jesus is HOT!” It’s like the disciples are acting like, dare I say it, children. Then Jesus tells them that the key to entering the Kingdom is to be like a child.
So what exactly does it mean to be like a child? Children are often filled with curiosity and wonder, excitement, passion, trust, faith, persistence, and short memories. Children ask a gazillion of questions and are amazed around every corner, and seem to have boundless imaginations. They are often untainted, so they will explore paths, take chances and leaps because they believe they can, and are willing to submit to others more readily because they need others in their lives for well-being. And they seem to have a seemingly endless tank of drive, persistence, and a short memory that allows them to keep trying (watch a kid teach themselves how to ride a bike even when they keep falling).
Unfortunately, the adults in their world seem to possess (or be possessed) distorted versions of these qualities. We know all the answers (or at least think we do) and lose our sense of wonderment, and instead allow unknown others to manipulate and consolidate metadata for us to consume like we were Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (look it up). We become cynical, lazy, and judgmental, and then we stop trusting people who are not in our tribe, and tribalism can actually retard our well-being. And we possess a seemingly endless persistence to hang on to others’ mistakes, slights, and flaws because we were wounded, and we give up on them too quickly.
Oh, Hitchhiker, you’re too hard on us. Have you not watched our laboratory existence over the past several years, especially the last two?!?! I can safely say that our children have behaved a good deal better than their adult counterparts, and when they don’t, there is likely an adult(s) involved! So am I being too hard?
With the eyes of a child
You must come out and see
That your world’s spinning round
And through life you will be
A small part of a hope of a love that exists
In the eyes of a child you will see.
“Eyes of a Child” by the Moody Blues (1969)
I think I will listen to Jesus’ advice because I want to feel those strong Carpenter arms wrapped around me! How about you?
Help us all to explore our inner child once again. Teach us to be passionate, curious, full of wonder and excitement, to be persistent and forgiving. But must of all, help us trust and be faithful to you.
I pray in the name of the Great Teacher. Amen!