At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
Do you worry that we have made of the earth a dark and dangerous place for God’s precious children?
We need to be out of our minds to enter God’s domain,
to get out our heads, reclaim our childhood,
and come back down to earth.
Daily we commute through Eden in the moist morning,
and God’s Reign, largely unnoticed,
rolls and swirls about us like amber mist.
And God put the human being in the garden of Eden to till and look after it.
-Genesis 2: 15
For sure this is no promised Reign of pain-free bliss.
There is no guarantee
of relief from life’s persistent problems.
This domain of the Divine is a way of being—
fully engaged, poised in ready reflection,
like the silent heron about to strike.
And we meet this Reign like children,
as we lose all sense of self
and fall into terrible love with life.
In this state,
all trouble is shared, all pain is yoked,
and life’s tragic beauty is made bearable in the great communion.
A Permeable Life
I want to leave enough room in my heart
For the unexpected,
For the mistake that becomes knowing,
For knowing that becomes wonder,
For wonder that makes everything porous,
Allowing in and out
All available light.
To savor the sacrament of the fullness of being,
we put expectation aside,
and simply want to be in this tragic-tremendous moment.
It takes a small child to remind us that
nothing we do here really matters.
In the cosmic scheme, nothing we do really matters.
Yet, HOW we do things—
how we do absolutely anything—
has universal significance.
We are guilty of many errors and many faults,
but our worst crime is abandoning the children,
neglecting the fountain of life.
Many things can wait. Children cannot.
Right now their bones are being formed,
their blood is being made,
and their senses are being developed.
To them we cannot answer, “Tomorrow.”
Their name is today.
Let us make of our lives a porous presence
so that realities and relationships, near and distant,
can come in close, to saturate and penetrate.
A porous, permeable,
child-like heart O God,
you will not spurn.
While leaves quiver,
branches shake, and trunks sway,
roots alone stay firm.
The strength of any tree
lies in the tangled depths
of its roots.
To be strong and resilient,
like a tree that makes the spirit-wind sing,
we sink our souls down into the quiet soil.
May you welcome a child this day,
any and every child of God
who passes your way.
Rooted and grounded in the Realm of Reliance,
may the needs and hopes of the children of today
lead you closer to the ground, quieter still, and a little slower.