Big Little Role Models
by: Jessica Bratt
I picture the disciples in this scene as very well-intentioned, sincerely wanting to keep distractions away from whatever important things Jesus is doing or saying. They remind me of dedicated ushers trying their best to minimize disruptions in a worship service, or disapproving people in the pew frowning at parents trying to deal with a wailing infant or a fidgety toddler during a sermon. The disciples only want to ensure that Jesus’ ministry doesn’t get derailed by interruptions.
What they don’t realize is that the children are not an interruption. They are the ministry. They embody the very message Jesus is trying to get across. As his arms reach out to gather the children, he enacts his message of good news, aiming it precisely at those who lived on the edges of society, powerless and voiceless. This is no baby-kissing photo op like those staged by politicians. Jesus mysteriously tells his listeners that they all must receive the kingdom as a child. The kingdom is offered to those who don’t have any inside connections to rely on, those who would be brushed aside by much of the world. It’s for the curious and inquisitive. It’s for people who make no pretense of being able to earn it for themselves. It’s for those who will ask “why,” and seek understanding. It’s for all who can receive such an undeserved gift with sheer gratitude.