And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)
A whole galaxy exists in our nursery. Its stars dangle from an orbit attached to the ceiling. It is a nightly routine that this galaxy glistens in our son’s smile, amazed at its dance as he makes full effort to catch the moon. How I long to enter his world, to be like a child.
Jesus is clear about children. In our adult reality, maturity mocks simplicity and experience ridicules innocence. While I categorize people, Jesus summons innocent, trusting children to both inherit and judge the kingdom. I suppose this is because their particularities are not particular. They quantify people simply as people, and attribute no other label.
Our son will run around the trees and jump up and down with anyone; he only desires simple friendship without complicated parenthesis: “He’s alright (but…).” We categorize people as subsets—by their dress, speech, dreams, home, car, ethnicity, job, spouse, religion. It is our categories that bring catastrophes. Remember: It is the adult hand that struck out at millions of Jews and dumped thousands of Bosnians in mass graves. It is the adult hand that plots, broods and avenges. It is the adult hand that kindles the gossip of neighbors that curses commuters from behind steering wheels, that closes the shade, builds a fence and safely remains ignorant to the bleeding hurt of others.
I tire of redundancy, yet Jesus must resonate with the wonder children bring to places we take for granted. If all creation was set in spin to pay tribute to God, then suns, stars, moons, trees, flowers and every living thing become a liturgy to the Creator. It is in redundancy that life is offered life. It is in the mind of a child that “again, again, again,” breaks life from the usual, not robs her of it. My son’s plea to again read the book of nursery-rhymes, to again be dazzled by our cat’s purr, to again exclaim “Twr-a-yynaa” at hearing the nearing whistle, to again give a big “Hi now!” to the frogs in the pond—this is the recurring call to see the wonder and freshness of God … again. Redundancy leads to discipline and then to God who Himself, like our son’s agains, continues to craft the seasons in order, again and again. I agree with G.K. Chesterton, who writes that God may reflect a child in saying to the sun “Do it again,” and the moon to “Do it again.”
A whole galaxy exists in our nursery, the truest galaxy ever conceived. It is a galaxy where moons are held and stars are tossed around in childish joy. It is a place where God has come. It is a place where children become rulers because they have no ambition to become anything, especially rulers. It is a place where the kingdom of God is alive, a place of “again and again.”
Dear God, give me the faith of a child. Allow me to see their awe and wonder and learn from it. Thank you for being so wondrous and amazing throughout my life.