Little Children and Constant Questions (Lent Day Three)
I have a five-year-old grandson. He inundates me with questions.
Why? What? Who? How? Why not? Where?
If you’ve ever been around little children, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Question after question after question.
Often, it drives me a little crazy and I get tired of it, but much of the time (when I’ve had enough sleep and have done my yoga), I’m a little enamored and excited over what it means for him to do this.
He doesn’t know things. He actually does not know. And he’s not afraid to admit it out loud.
He wants to learn about everything from how tall is the tallest slide to do all kids live to be adults to why he can’t have more candy.
He’s downright curious, open to newness and possibility, and nothing is threatening that.
I’ve caught myself thinking that being a good Christian is the opposite of being a child. You know, "put away childish things" and all that.
That it means I have all the answers about everything, that I am sure of all my doctrinal positions and ways of living and have everything wrapped up in a neat bow.
That l choose knowing over learning, because knowing is for the respected and learning is for the dismissed, and knowing is praiseworthy and learning is NOT.
And mostly, that it amounts to clinging to certainty instead of leaning into curiosity. Because certainty brings comfort and assurance (for me and everyone around me) and curiosity might send me down things like “slippery slopes” or “eating slop with the pigs” like the prodigal son, two things I’ve been told to avoid with every fiber of my being.
Remember when Jesus said "Let the little children come and do not hinder them."
Perhaps Jesus is on to something.
I’m not surprised, given those who were listening to His words and carefully examining His actions.
There were the religious leaders, experts on every one of the 613 laws plus a few of their own. The ones who had all the answers or, at the minimum, believed they did, being sure of exactly how much to “tithe” of mint, dull and cumin and who was on God’s side and who was not.
How about the political powers-that-be, in the “know” about everything? Those who had power, respect and acclaim, controlling others like puppets on a string, using fear tactics to which most succumbed.
And finally, the disciples and the crowds that gathered around Him, composed of the uneducated, underprivileged, and oppressed. By both of the groups above.
Perhaps Jesus is onto something for sure.
“The kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
The kingdom of heaven that is at hand.
Not one that’s happening in the future after we die. But now.
The one that is in you.
Not one that’s far away for someone else.
The one that’s like a tiny mustard seed that is planted and when it is grown, becomes a shelter, a haven and a soft place to land.
For all those who were listening to Jesus, the oppressed and oppressors alike.
Perhaps I need to become like my grandson.
Not afraid to ask questions that help me to grow.
Always in a posture of learning and not knowing for sure and certain.
Leaning into wide-eyed and wide-hearted curiosity and wonder.
Perhaps some will dismiss me when I do, shoving me aside or telling me to stand outside the circle of knowers.
Perhaps others will embrace me, like children themselves, and we will hold hands as we explore the questions together.
Perhaps this is what Jesus was onto. Just perhaps.
I’m looking forward to finding out.
From my heart to yours,