+ Mark 10:13-16 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
I’m in my 7th week back at Community Christian Church after my maternity leave ended in October. I returned to the church changed.
In the last 3 months- I’ve learned a lot about having a child.
I’ve learned how to translate cries.
I’ve learned about love.
I’ve also learned that some of the catch phrases we say about children are just not true. For example, the phrase: I slept like a baby last night.
WHO thought that up?
That little phrase is usually spoken when someone sleeps soundly all night. Whoever coined that has never had a baby. Sleeping like a baby means getting up every two hours to eat, then play, then look at pictures, then crying yourself to sleep, REPTEAT UNTIL MORNING.
Then, there’s that story in Mark. I think it’s a misunderstood and misrepresented passage about children. People are bringing children to Christ, and he is taking them in his arms and blessing them. When we picture this scene, it’s easy to picture a peaceful, simple, beautiful moment of innocent little babies and children coming to Christ.
But then I had Felix. And I learned that bringing a child anywhere is NEVER simple or cleaned up or serene.
You practically have to pack 4 suitcases to get out the door. Not to mention, it seems to take 3 hours to leave the house with a baby. They need to eat, then sleep, then eat, then be changed, then be changed again, then you’re too tired to leave the house with them anyway.
If you do leave the house with your baby- and you arrive at your destination outside the house- no doubt- your child will either start screaming and disturbing everyone around you, or your child will have a diaper blow out, or spit up all over their outfit, or both.
Bringing a baby anywhere is not simple and sweet and innocent at all- it’s a NIGHTMARE.
There is ONE reason I am able to show up at Community Christian Church each day for work: I have help. Andrew is an equal, loving parent. Our friends offer support. Our churches are compassionate and welcoming when we need to bring Felix to a meeting or when he has a meltdown during a prayer gathering.
One true phrase about babies: it takes a village.
I’ve been thinking about this story from Mark when people are bringing children to Christ, and I see it differently now.
Consider the scene: folks bringing their children to see Christ. This means they were loaded down with baggage. This means it took them 5 hours to finally get out the door to see Christ and likely, their babies were screaming their heads off as multiple people try to calm the little ones.
I can see why the disciples were upset. It was a nightmare!
But Jesus says: let the children come to me.
Think about it: to get to the kingdom of God, we have to come like children.
What does that mean?
It means we come with our baggage. It means we come and it’s messy. It means, we cannot do it alone. It takes a village.
The only way we are going to reach God’s hope is if we remember we must come, baggage, messiness and all- which is good- because that’s the only way I get anywhere these days.