Monday, August 15, 2016

Learning from Children at Summer Jam

Laughing.
Screaming.
Giggling.
Crying.
Poking, touching, hitting.
Running noses. Watery eyes.
Awkward questions.
Long drawn out stories that have no ending, seemingly no point, and definitely no plot.
I could have sworn that child had shoes when he came in.
Upstairs, downstairs. Songs with hand motions. Up. Down. Spin around. Music that stays in your head. Hot dogs, mac ‘n cheese, Goldfish snacks.
Bible stories. Not sure they’re paying attention, but I’m sure enjoying it.
There’s a three-year-old crawling into my lap. There´s another one pushing him out and taking his place. Blond haired girl with ringlets decides it’s time for the red-haired boy to share, so she steals the marker from him and hands it to the dark-haired girl with pigtails.
Her sense of justice is admirable.
Then suddenly, amidst the crazy. Amidst the loud laughter and leaders spinning in circles as they chase kids who are running in circles, I remember that story about Jesus. The one where his best friends are trying to protect him, so they shoo the little kids away, blocking their path, barring them from coming to their Savior. Jesus redirects them: “Let the little children come to me,”  he says. Then, as he opens wide his arms, letting as many kids who can fit climb into his lap, he reveals an instruction in wisdom that children have that we grownups often miss and certainly forget as we get older. “Unless you are like a child, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)
Little children have this reckless abandon. They don’t seem to be asking, ¨Do you love me?¨ They seem to assume you do. They haven´t learned the art of hiding their fears, their joys, and their amazing discoveries. They assume you find it as fascinating as they do. They don’t have any qualms about rushing up on stage to tell you their secrets, even if you are in the middle of reading the Bible.
So when little children were coming to Jesus, even though he was a seriously popular guy with lots of people clamoring to hang out with him, the children weren’t thinking, “Why would Jesus want to talk to me?” They assumed he’d care about every bruise, every scrape, every booger, and every pair of sparkly shoes they were wearing.
They knew they weren´t too small for Jesus. They knew Jesus wasn’t too big to see them, to hear them, and to enjoy every moment of spending time with them.
I don’t think it´s a stretch to say hanging out with kids at Summer Jam is learning from them what it means to go to Jesus and let him love you.

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