Epiphany 2, Wednesday, Year B

Inspired by Luke 18:15-17 

“Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.” Luke 18:16b (NRSV) 

We make Christianity unnecessarily difficult. We put rules and restrictions on specific behaviors, beliefs, and attitudes that must or must not be demonstrated in order to determine who is truly a Christian, and who is not. We set expectations and condemn anyone who fails to meet them. Anyone who does not give enough, do enough, or believe exactly these doctrines is shunned at best, or threatened with hellfire and damnation at worst. For all that we say that Christianity is a religion of grace, our actions point to a religion of law.

Children have very little to offer. Infants have even less. Yet when the disciples turned away people who were bringing infants and children to see Jesus, Jesus insisted that they be allowed to come. He then held up these children and infants as the model by which all should receive the kingdom of heaven. People who have done nothing, who lack even the capacity to do anything to earn or deserve the kingdom are the ones to whom it belongs.

An encounter with the risen Christ will certainly change us, and living out our faith in discipleship will flow naturally from that. However the encounter itself, coming to meet Jesus, can only be done when we have nothing to give, but everything to gain. Nothing can be simpler than that.

Let us pray. Gentle Lord, you called the little children to you. Grant us a child’s trust and humility, that we may approach you not only with boldness and expectation, but also with awe and adoration. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.