Let the Children Run
Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the beloved community of God as a little child will never enter it. (Mark 10:15)
After church on Sunday, as we enjoyed a “potluck” fellowship time of delicious snacks and good conversation, I enjoyed seeing a group of children running around after Sunday school. I’m not sure if they were racing each other or chasing each other, but they were laughing and have a good time as they ran from one side of the room to the other.
When I was a child, we weren’t supposed to run in church. If we started carrying on, the adults would send us outside where we could run on the church lawn. Of course, in Minnesota in January, that meant running around in frigid cold, but nonetheless, out we went.
I don’t mind seeing children running around the church at all. I want them to experience church as a positive place, a place where they build relationships with others of all ages, a place where they come to know what the beloved community of God is like.
Then on Monday I saw a brief clip of video showing people celebrating in the Ukrainian city of Kherson. The Russian army had left the city late last week and it was now back under Ukrainian control and the people were rejoicing. In the clip, I saw a small group of young children running wildly in a city square. Again, I don’t know if they were racing or chasing each other, but I could see the joy on their faces as they ran just for the sake of moving, just being kids.
These two images of joyful children keep coming to my mind and remind me of what it means to “receive the beloved community of God.” To me, it means letting go once in a while and simply live with joy.
These children also remind me of how we are more alike than we are different. Here are two sets of children, half-way around the world from each other, expressing the joy of childhood in the same way. Perhaps someday we can all learn to embrace the oneness of humanity.
This upcoming holiday season, which it seems is already upon us, is a great opportunity for each of us to recapture our inner child. May you find some child-like joy in these coming weeks and may you see that same wonder in the faces of others. Only then will we receive the beloved community of God.