Pauline and I spent part of our day off last week looking after a friend’s two-year-old son while they were involved in running a children’s holiday club.
Spending time with him caused me to reflect again on what Jesus might have meant when, in answer to the question, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’, Jesus placed a child amongst them and replied ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.’ (Matt 18:1-5)
Small children know that they need help from others to do the things they want to do.
– ‘Can I have lunch now?’ – ‘No, it’s only 10 o’clock!’ (Well, it’s worth asking, isn’t it?)
– ‘Look! What’s that?’ – ‘It’s a lorry / pigeon / tree…’ / whatever the appropriate answer is. It’s amazing just how much information a young mind is keen to soak up.
– And of course, the main role of adult carers is to keep the children in their charge safe and well, as they learn the boundaries of what’s good for them… and what’s not!
Like small children needing the help of their parents or carers, we need to recognise our need for God’s help if we are to grow as Christians. We need to be willing to ask, even if the answer might sometimes be ‘no’; we need to be ready to learn throughout life; and we need to accept that as it’s God’s kingdom that we’re invited to be part of, we need to let him be King.
Amongst the signs of doing that well are the way we value our children and young people as part of our church communities, and the way that we develop an attitude of interdependence upon each other, both within congregations and between congregations.
We have an opportunity to develop both of those attitudes this week as, in partnership with All Saints Church and Kerith Church in Dedworth, we run a Holiday Club for children from the local community. Please pray that these children will learn that they are loved by God, and pray that relationships between the churches will deepen as we work together to build God’s kingdom here.
Meanwhile, I’m quite sure that our babysitting duties were excellent practice for our impending new role as grandparents!
With my love and prayers