the ponderings of a mother

These are the ponderings of a mother in love with her children, both in my arms and in the grave. Some of these ponderings are quite emotional, some are funny, others contemplative and spiritual. All are sincere. May these writings bless you in many ways and bring you closer to the one, true God and Redeemer of all things.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Thoughts on Jesus' Journey

So one thing I did on my retreat was to “walk around” inside some Scriptures of Jesus on his way to Jerusalem the week before He would be murdered by the ones He loved most. A fitting exercise for this season of Lent. On recommendation from a mentor of mine I walked around Luke 18:15-17: 

Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying,  "Let the children come to me, and 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."

By walking around it mean something like reading it very slowly. Picturing what it may have been like for each of these people in that culture, time in history, part of the world.  There is a crowd gathered around Jesus, usual for him, people generally couldn’t get enough (his teaching, his transformational conversations, his healing, his grace).  Here Jesus reveals his affection for children. Deep affection. He scolds those who hold them back from him. Like…”Here is this important guy, a Rabbi, someone many people want to meet and see…Can you not bring the kids along and try to get close, please? He has much more important things to do, folks. More important people to talk with. Back away.” Yet, Jesus, in his usual manner of confusing the disciples, rebukes them and says, in effect…”Hey guys, let them come to me. All that I am doing here, it belongs to them, too. In fact, not only does my Kingdom belong to these ones that you want desperately to keep away from me because apparently they are not important enough, but you actually need to become more like them in order to receive my Kingdom.”

This interaction has a poetic-ness to it, but I ask myself…how does a child receive the Kingdom of God? (important note: big different between being childlike and childish, I believe this is a call to childlikeness, not childishness).  Well, for any of us who have spent any time at all with children we certainly know they are not innocent. They would love to take that cookie when you are not looking, among their first words is usually “mine!”, and the list goes on. If it is not innocence...what is it? They more easily give and easily receive. Emotionally and otherwise. It is difficult not to feel loved by a child. And, even the more awkward of souls can give love to a child. There is something more open in their hearts that becomes more beautiful the older I get. They are also much more simply themselves. Unless by unfortunately strong influence, children are themselves more naturally. They do not  need personality and interest tests to tell them who they are. They know, and freely act like it. It is not until this begins to grow out of them as they “mature” that they often lose this freedom in order to conform to some standards of approval. Children love to learn, every opportunity is chance to play and learn something new, and this is natural for them. They are unashamed of dependence, unlike us strong and wise adults who can take care of everything ourselves. Thank you very much. And they are often more joyful.  Innocence is not what Jesus is talking about here. But there are so many other beautiful characteristics that we can seek. And I noticed that Jesus said we must receive the Kingdom like a child. Not that we should seek it like a child, or love it like a child, or understand it like a child, but receive it like a child. So back to my first example, children more easily give and receive. “So, my dear disciples who are trying to keep these little ones away from me, let them come, and learn something beautiful from them. I have much to give, receive it like they do.”

Is my heart open to receiving today? Do I come to God with my answers and plans or am I receiving from Him? When these children came to him, you know what he did, he likely put his hand on them and blessed them. He touched them, maybe gave them a little kiss on the forehead. He blessed them.

Another thing I saw when I walked around in that crowd was that Jesus did not have children of his own. He would never, in fact, have his own biological children. True, he forewent many possessions to gain this Kingdom, so he would not have had a monetary inheritance to pass along, but children were still a legacy, for the men especially in that culture. I had always just thought of Jesus has a single man living his life automatically in the calling he was given by the Father. But as I see Jesus struggling in other parts of Scripture, that he was tempted in every way, it does not seem far-fetched to consider that he loved children and maybe wanted some of his own, but knew his calling on earth was to forego that desire in order to fulfill the will of God.  This was something he likely had to offer to the Father at different times on his journey. And, in having to lay down this desire, he did not shy away from children but welcomed them close to him always. And interestingly, in this instance in Luke 18, Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, on his way to Palm Sunday, on his way to the Cross…the reason he had to lay himself and his desires down through his whole life. And now, we all can have the inheritance of the Kingdom because his decisions. 

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