The Brave and Radical Kingdom of GodDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.
Desmond strikes again! This is what I'm thinking as I watch my son trip—slow motion, backwards—into the stand which holds the blue pitcher of water for the baptismal font. I gasp and mouth the word Nooooooooooooooooo as the pitcher topples off the stand into the lap of an unsuspecting girl. I flinch, even though the water doesn't come near me. Somehow the little girl manages to keep the pitcher from hitting the chancel stairs too hard, and (Thank. God.) it doesn't break. But the water spills everywhere.
The pastor says something to lighten the tension, and I want to crawl under the pews until the service is over and everyone has gone home.
Instead, I hold Desmond squirming in my lap. Until I pass him off to his dad so I can grab Ozzie, Desmond’s younger brother, who is now power-crawling towards that same font.
Meanwhile, Maddie, a little girl who is older than the twins, goes up to the baptismal font, sticks her whole hand in, then drinks the water from her hand. Maddie’s mother and I often commiserate after service about whose children were worse.
While Maddie drinks the water from the font, Pastor Rachel is offering the children's sermon and is unfazed by it. Maddie even licks her fingers. I'm thinking, "Oh, gross, surely that ain't no holy water.”
But I realize I am laughing to myself.
It is easy to forget the baptismal font is not just symbolic of cleansing but also for quenching our eternal thirst. I loved seeing Maddie quench her thirst so blatantly and … joyously.
Right on, Maddie! You drink from the font, girl. Drink it to the dregs. Drink it up, drink up the love of God, the promise of God's seal upon our lives, the water that never ceases to flow, drink it all up.
There are days our small lives seem so bleak and futile. All the destruction and ugliness feels like it is constantly winning.
But it's not.
People gather to protest and resist the darkness and to call for freedom and huddle together around the small spring of water that gives life to the multitudes. God on high is drawing near to us, always in the most unexpected places. Holiness happens when children are present, and the kingdom is right there.
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION:
In what ways do you hinder the presence of God’s kingdom? How do you experience it in genuine and meaningful ways? What can you do to make space for it?
God, I struggle with maintaining appearances and propriety, but I know you are present where and when we least expect it, and especially when we are welcoming to those who are considered the least in our communities. Help me have the courage to make space for your brave and radical kingdom. Amen.
READ THE PASSAGE IN CONTEXT:
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.