Becoming as a child

by Rev. Paul L. Escamilla, Senior Pastor

As I reflect on our special ministries with children over the weeks of summer at Laurel Heights (VBS, Project Transformation), I wonder what, besides our fundamental responsibility to protect and nurture them, makes children so special in the church’s life. Perhaps it is the energy and youthfulness children naturally transmit up the age chain. Maybe it is the hope they engender in those who are older than they—hope a better world in the care of a fresh generation having so newly come from God. Is it their trust, for those children who have grown up in environments of love and safety, that all to be well? Maybe children are special to us because Jesus said they were the key to understanding what the rest of us are called to become. I’m remembering those words he spoke to his disciples once—“Unless you become as a child, you shall not enter the realm of God” (Mark 10:13-16).

What is it about children that is like the realm (or kingdom) of God? Their sense of wonder? Their unaffected child essence? Their trust, their earnestness, their innocence? It is an amusing thought that for centuries grown-ups have sought to understand just what Jesus had in mind when he spoke those mysterious words—while in the meantime children have gone about the business of simply being themselves, modeling that mystery for the rest of us.

No one has ever spelled out exactly what it is in children or childlikeness we are to emulate, we are to do or be, to enter the realm of God. Only that we must. And so, as though buying time while we figure out the riddle, we gather children, and gather with children, calling ourselves teachers in the company of the real teachers.

Thank you, Laurel Heights, for your faithfulness in loving our young as they school us so generously and reliably in the things of God.

Grace and peace.