Since I started work in ministry to young people some years ago there’s been one Bible reading more than others that has always stuck with me. It’s from the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 10.
Jesus Blesses 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.
This reading has always stuck with me because I think it gives us a model in which we should treat children among us. In this story parents are bringing their children to Jesus to be blessed and the disciples were trying to move them away, no doubt they thought Jesus was too busy to have to deal with little children like this. Perhaps they thought He had more important things to do like teach or heal.
Jesus realised what was going on and insisted that the children be brought to Him. This, I think, shows us a model of welcome that should always be offered to children. Too often in society, not just in Churches, children are shunned away and ignored. Yet, this passage challenges us to extend an open welcome to children among us.
Recently, though, I’ve been challenged to look at this reading in a different way. When Jesus tells the gathered crowd that the kingdom of God belongs to these children it’s not simply saying that children are also welcomed. He’s going further than that and saying that children are the example for adults and we should be led by these children.
Children give us an example of inquiry and wonder that adults often don’t have. Children provide us with a permission to question and explore that adults often ignore. But how often are we as adults willing to be led by children in our midst?
This passage should provide a challenge for us in schools and in our family and daily lives. How can we provide a space by which children among us can influence and shape the way we as adults operate? It is more than just extending welcome to children among us, it’s being willing to be shaped and changed by the leading of children in our midst.
I hope all our Lindfield families have a fantastic and safe holiday and I look forward to seeing the boys back next term.
Pastor Richard La’Brooy