There are some words that are very close to each other but have dramatically different meanings. Today’s Gospel text took me on an exploration of the world “childlike.” No one wants to be childish and there are even some people who dislike the notion of being childlike almost as much. Merriam-Webster says childlike is “ resembling, suggesting, or appropriate to a child or childhood; especially : marked by innocence, trust, and ingenuousness.“* I don’t know about you but that doesn’t sound too bad to me. I would like to be less guilt-ridden, cynical and disingenuous and I think most of us would.
What makes the discussion of being childlike important is what Jesus has to say about it. In Mark 10:15 he says, “Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” (NRSV) He doesn’t say we have to be little children, he also doesn’t say that we have to receive this kingdom only when we are little children, but “as a little child.” There is something in the way little children receive things that we need to emulate, there is something specific to being a little child that is, at least generally, not the case with adults that we need.
Jesus talks frequently about children and how they are more the examples we should be trying to be follow than our favourite “successful” spiritual person. This Sunday I try to tease out some of what he is getting at.
Knox Presbyterian Childish? Not really
St. Mark’s Presbyterian Childish? Not really