Do you remember racing as a kid? Ready, set, go! First one to the fence wins. Streaming down the road on bicycles, those epic races that led to victory or, often times, crashes. Most adults don’t race. Save professional athletes, I don’t expect to witness two grown men or women arguing about who’s faster. We loose those kid-like qualities, life seems to do that to us. That is something we should not take lightly. While maturing and growing in our faith is vastly important, I’m not convinced that loosing all of our kid-like traits is a good thing. Take, for example, the class passage from Luke 18:15-17, revealing this wonderful moment in the life and ministry of Christ.
People were bringing babies to Jesus so that he would bless them. When the disciples saw this, they scolded them. Then Jesus called them to him and said, “Allow the children to come to me. Don’t forbid them, because God’s kingdom belongs to people like these children. I assure you that whoever doesn’t welcome God’s kingdom like a child will never enter it.”
Last Tuesday our church was packed with activities. The fellowship hall was used by the community as a voting poll station. The choir room and upstairs classrooms were filled up with kids enjoying our summer program, “Ten Terrific Tuesdays.” And in the church’s gym some of our senior members met for their bimonthly Senior Center meal. The atmosphere was a bit chaotic, but part of it was so very right. Surely the church is meant to be used, meant to be about the doing of stuff, kingdom stuff.
The senior center meal is typically held in our fellowship hall, while the gym usually has kids running around in there. But seeing as how everything was packed, the senior center gathering had to be moved, and the gym was really the only option. At first it seemed awfully quite. This large open aired space normally so very loud with kids running and racing and playing and laughing; was calm with the sound of conversation and food being set out. Jokes were being told, stories about grandkids and life resonated through air. As I prepared to give a devotional for the seniors gathered in the church gym I heard the most nostalgic of phrases, “You want to race?” I snapped around and watched as Pauline, a kindly red haired senior lady, atop her motorized scooter turned to face Bill, the dark haired, quick witted sunday school teacher, atop his motorized scooter. A smile cracked. And they were off.
Side by side, their scooters scooted as fast as a senior scooter scoots. The other seniors noticed and began clapping and cheering. I stood in amazement, laughing out loud and clapping and proclaiming “yes.” Pauline took the race by a chair length. As they steered around to return to the tables we all smiled at one another and laughed. We laughed hard! Just like that, kids had taken over the gym once again. Racing one another, deciding who the fastest kid really is. And just like that, I saw the kingdom of God revealed. Turns out that the kingdom is for children such as these. Praise be to God.