Daily Reflection
February 26th, 2000
Shirley Scritchfield
Institutional Research & Assessment
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James 5:13-20
Psalms 141:1-3, 8
Mark 10:13-16

“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” 
                                                                                                                      Mark 10:15

Do you remember what it was like to be a child?  If you are like me, that was some time ago.  Yet, Jesus is asking us to receive the kingdom of God like a child.  What does he mean?

Maybe he’s telling us to suspend our adult “knowledge” of what is real, to let go of our seasoned “wisdom” as to what can be, and instead open ourselves to the mystery that is God.  Maybe he’s pointing to the fact that our “knowledge” and our “wisdom” hinder our ability to see and know God.  We “adults” often assume—or at least act as if we assume—that we know what God wants, what God can do, how God views the world and its human inhabitants.

Then, look at young children.  What is their take on the world?  Have you witnessed their incredulity on Christmas morning when Santa has paid a visit?  Or, felt their tenacious trust in a parent in the face of the unknown or the frightening?  The young children I have known—including myself—have been curious, open to the wonderment of the world around them, trusting, willing to embrace the miracle of the “impossible.”

Let me share an example….  Several years ago, Erin, the daughter of white friends, came home from preschool and announced to her mother that she had decided to become brown.  Puzzled, her mother asked why she would want to do that.  Erin emphatically explained that her best friend’s skin was brown—and she wanted to be just like her.

Gently, my friend explained to her daughter that it wasn’t possible to become brown.  Erin was crestfallen—she did so want to become like her friend.  There just had to be a way!  She just knew there did.

The next day, after preschool, Erin was full of joy and excitement.  She and her friend had discussed the matter of becoming alike—and had found a solution.  If one of them could not change to be like the other, they would both change.  They would share their skin colors with each other—and both become polka dot.

We laugh at Erin and her friend’s solution.  We adults know better.  Or, do we?  Yes, polka dot children are impossible, at least on the surface.  But, what about beneath the surface?  There, the children’s solution reflects an amazing spirit.  Erin and her friend—and their mysterious solution—embodied what I think Jesus is pointing to in today’s gospel passage.  You and I must not allow ourselves to miss the mystery of God because of our adult perspectives.  No, we must cast aside our adult knowledge and become like children to receive all that God would share with us.  Who knows what we will find or do?  God has much to teach us.  May it be so.

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