Young Child, Mark 10:13-16
Warning – read at your own peril. Controversial options expressed!
We have seen very few times when Jesus is really angry, but in this situation, he is indignant (irate, vexed, outraged, furious, offended). Wow. Talk about unwelcome news for those disciples. The religious leaders have been indignant with Jesus because of his popularity and healings, and that we can understand. The disciples were indignant when John and James’ Mother asked for her sons have the premier place of honor beside Jesus in heaven, and yes, I would have been ticked about that too. But here Jesus is indignant with his disciples because they kept the little rug rats from bothering him when he was doing important, kingdom business. Of all the things that could have made Jesus get really mad, it was the shooing away of little children.
If we don’t have young children around us on a regular basis, what is it that seems to bother us the most about them? Is it the noise, the constant movement, or the lack of controllability? I almost broke out laughing during communion yesterday. One of our moms was in the Family Room up in the balcony. She had been served the little communion cup of juice and her son wanted desperately to play with it. She was trying to hold him off until we all drank together but it wasn’t looking good because her son was determined to play with that cup. (I told the ushers to make sure that he had his own cup next month.)
Having children around, up front and personal, has so many benefits but it means making concessions. Jesus is very clear that we are to do nothing that hinders or prevents them being a part of the body and growing in their relationship with God. What obstacles can we remove that might invite children to more fully embrace their baptismal faith? Could we update our music (outrageous!), stop using the King James version of the Lord’s prayer (blasphemous!) and allow the worship services to have a more intergenerational flow and tempo (heresy!)? The church wants so badly to attract children and young families but we don’t want to make the concession that would allow for the children to flourish and grow in an environment that appeals to then. When we don’t make those concessions, we get the Lord’s indignation. I don’t know about you but I would rather make a few concessions than face the Lord’s anger – what about you?