Giving out the Crackers in Heaven
13 People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them. (Mark 10:13-16 NRSV)
Part of the Gospel for October 4 - not to jump ahead, but why not? - summer ends and fall begins with Jesus welcoming and loving children. Many children, all ages, at our church. From down the street, the two little boys who adopted us weren’t at Wednesday evening service last night, they’ve been showing up, but they may only do things together, and someone said one of them was with his father in Alabama. What an interesting church where and when children just show up, wander in sans parents, from the neighborhood. All it took to bring them back again was a smiling question, “did you boys get a cookie?” and the next week they’re back and’ve become part of the children’s group with other children at the supper table. Is this what Heaven is like, children wandering in sans parents, all children, one Father? Or is this Heaven?, Jesus isn't apocalyptic, he has a "realized eschatology," I'm thinking this is it.
Wednesday evenings a child reads the Gospel, we banter the Gospel back and forth, have our prayers, then the priest says “come on up, kids,” and whoever wants to, toddler to teen, generally a dozen or more, come up and circle round the Altar for the Communion service. A quiet commotion while we sort out which four want to help serve the Bread and Wine.
So as children and youth were crowding round last night, a tiny girl who shares a birthday with me but seventy-five years apart, came behind the Altar and asked, “Can I hand out the crackers?” I glanced around for the older girl whom I could trust to lovingly help her, oversee and say the words. With a squirt from the hand cleanser bottle, everybody washes hands, and away we go, “The Lord be with you,” out the back side of the Wardrobe.
It took fifty years, but somehow, slowly, over the past ten years, especially on Wednesday evenings, this church that we helped start sixty years ago has become the Kingdom of God; or as Matthew has it, the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever comes on Wednesday evenings needn’t be concerned about saving themselves into some future Heaven, this is it, you walk down the aisle into the Kingdom of God right here.
W+ in +Time+