Eternal Youth

6 05 2010

Eternal Youth

Matthew 18:1-5

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me.

I love my children.  Truly.  And far too often they drive me crazy.  The incessant banging, tapping, chatter, and questions—and they always want to play with me.  Play ball, hide-n-seek, monster and, of course they want to wrestle with me.  As if I exist solely to play with them!  Don’t they understand?!  The lawn needs mowed!  I have a sermon to prepare!  Or I just want to be left alone!  Their desire for play seems inexhaustible as does my irritation at that very fact.  So it must be asked:   Who has the problem here?  Me or my kids?

In his spiritual autobiography, Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesteron gives us an amazing glimpse of the true reality of things that is afforded to us by children… and flowers and sun rises:    (from the chapter, “The Ethics of Elfland”)

The sun rises every morning.  I do not rise every morning; but the variation is due not to my activity, but to my inaction.  Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising.  His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life.  The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they especially enjoy.   A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life.  Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged.  They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead.  For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.  But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony.  It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon.  It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daises alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them.  It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.  The repetition in Nature may not be mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.

Hmmm.  Time to stop writing and reflecting and go wrestle, over and over again, with my kids.  Thy Kingdom come. . . .

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