The Secret Awareness of Children

It doesn't surprise me that Jesus welcomes the connection with children during his earthly ministry. In Mark 10:13-16, Jesus welcomes and blesses the little children.

People were bringing little children to him 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.(NRSV)

The context of this passage points to a few things. 1) The disciples had asked Jesus before this encounter about "who would be the greatest" in the kingdom of God, and Jesus used this experience to help the disciples understand they were missing an important aspect of his teaching. The kingdom of heaven is counter-cultural and includes those who are marginalized. In fact, the first shall be last, and the last shall be first. I wonder if Jesus was pointing to the children in front of him hoping the disciples would remember a time in their life when they too lived out of their imagination and wonder. 2) Jesus loved children and saw them as valuable in a cultural context that viewed children as less than significant. He loved them for existing, and realized that children do have much to contribute.

In addition to this passage, I immediately think of James's description of religion that God the Father sees as pure and faultless, that is, to take care of orphans and widows in their distress (James 1:27a, NIV). God expects us to care and provide for orphans in every circumstance, not to discard and forget them.

In conclusion, I believe wholeheartedly that the spirituality of children continues to point to the ineffable that adults have tuned out. When given the opportunity, they contribute deeply to the conversation of the divine. Just as my nieces and nephews taught me how to play with abandonment and live life to the fullest, I want to walk in the "secret awareness" that inspires me to encounter the divine with imagination, mystery, and wonder.

5/11/2016 4:00:00 AM
  • Spirituality and Children
  • Public Square
  • Children
  • Community
  • education
  • Transcendence
  • Christianity
  • About