Like a Child


“But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children
come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these
that the kingdom of God belongs.”
                           Luke 18:16
The story of Jesus and the children always reminds me of the movie Dave, with Kevin Kline.  The hero, Dave, is a look alike for the president.  When the president has had a massive stroke, Dave is hired to come to the White House and impersonate the president so the country won’t know anything has happened.  Acting as the president, Dave goes with the First Lady to a photo opportunity at a child care center.  She has been estranged from her husband, and is unaware of Dave’s substitution.  The First Lady is passionate about quality day care, and is lecturing a group of reporters, surrounded by the children who attend the center.  She looks up and sees Dave, off in a corner, out of view of the reporters and TV cameras, talking quietly with one troubled, little boy, doing magic tricks for the child.  Everyone else was taking in the kids as one mass -a gaggle of kids, a collection of statistics, an opportunity for a photograph; but Dave was getting to know one real child in an intimate way, giving his time in a way that said, you’re valuable enough for me to spend my time with just you.

And isn’t that what God’s intimate ministry says to us?  When God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve, God showed how much they were valued.  God loved them enough to stop other important duties, to set aside the tasks of the divine in order to simply delight in the company of humans.  Not delight in the mass of humanity or the idea of human beings, but in the very presence of two concrete, specific people.

Jesus, too, loved people, not just the concept of people.  He stopped to take the children on his knee, children with dirty diapers, kids who pulled his hair and spit up on his robes.  He ate and drank with sinners, even being accused of gluttony and drunkenness because he enjoyed the company of others and valued getting to know people as individuals.  He listened to them, he related to them, one on one.  He developed relationships with people, rather than standing far off, like the pope on his balcony blessing thousands of people at a time.  His presence was an affirmation of our worth, a confirmation that even one single creature – whether the sparrow or a human being – matters to God.

So let’s remember that as we live our days.  Each one is worthy of God’s love; each one is worthy of our attention; each one is someone to relate to and get to know as a unique individual, a child of God created by the master.

Prayer:  Lord of life, I thank you that you created human beings, each one, unique and valuable.  Help me to approach each person in my life as your handiwork, a child of God who is precious in your sight.  Let me value each person and seek to know them not simply by their gender, their race or other shared characteristics, but to know them as your unique and beloved child in whom your image is reflected.  For I ask it in the name of Jesus, who loves me as your unique and individual child.  Amen.


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