“To such as these belongs the kingdom of God”, Christ said to his disciples one day (Matthew 19). The people had been bringing their children to the Lord for a blessing. When the disciples saw this, they were upset and told the parents they had to stop this nonsense. Bothering such a busy, itinerant teacher was unacceptable. Jesus didn’t see it that way. In fact, He held Kingdom promise not only for the children, but for all who are childlike. Christ’s response has puzzled us to this day. How might children hold key understandings of the kingdom and where have we, as adults, lost our grasp of its true nature?
For a child, everything is new. A butterfly dancing on a breeze creates a sense of wonder. Perhaps Christ had been calling his disciples and the parents to be engaged in the lost childhood art of “wonder”. Adults approach life with a familiar sense. We’ve “been there and done that.” But God is always taking us into new growth. The Christian life always has unexplored territory. I’m intrigued. Does Christ call us to pursue a new frame of reference in each season of life? Readying our souls daily for the next new adventure with God allows us to be “fully alive”, with hearts prepared to be amazed in reverence and gratitude. Maintaining a stance of “wonder” at God and His ongoing work, allows us to become more in tune with his Holy Spirit and His overall curious and mysterious plan for our lives. J. Phillip Newell writes that
“God has given us at our birth something that is of the essence of his life. It is at the beginning of who we have been created to be and it is at the end or heart of our journey that we are called to rediscover.”
It’s a delightful, daily invitation. It’s the invite we’ve all been longing for! Jesus, the Christ said to Nathaniel, “Come and you will see!” (John 1:39) Christ whispers that invitation for us all. He is before us preparing the way. We’re invited to look back on our lives in wonder at all the redemptive things He’s performed. We look ahead in anticipation and curiosity to see what restorative work He is about to do. And we marvel with Nathanael and repeat in wonder, “But where did you get to know me?” Recently I lost an aunt to cancer. In her 92nd year, she faced the crippling disease with grace. She had been an avid gardener and loved the bushes and perennials that grew on their yard. During her last months, she was too weak to leave the house. When she was ready for hospice care and wheeled out of the house, a change came over her. Her son said that rather than the sleepy, unresponsive mother of a few hours before, she suddenly had a wide-eyed gaze and a beautiful smile on her face as she glimpsed the lush trees and flowers around her. She literally was coming alive in wonder and amazement, like a small child viewing an exquisite scene. What was my aunt so enthralled with in that moment that so awakened her spirit? She was revisiting the common grace of creation bypassed by those in a hurry. She was also alive to the wonder of life waiting for her beyond the threshold of flesh.
Lord God, increase our wonder and reverence at your good and holy work in our lives. Amen.
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