“…where the children are blessed”

A postcard from the 19th Sunday after Pentecost 10/03/21

Altar flowers for October 3, 2021, at St. Barnabas in Roanoke.

Kids as lots of questions.

Our reading [Mark 10:2-16] yesterday begins a series of teachings that link the Transfiguration of Jesus and the triumphal entry into Jerusalem that would begin the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. We look to these teachings to learn important lessons about what it means to be disciples in the Kingdom of God that is already breaking into our world.

The Kingdom that Jesus proclaims is one of reversals. Those on the bottom will be lifted up. And those unjustly on the top will be made low. Jesus’ teaching is challenging and at times shocking, so that we can see the radical transformation that is the result of living in the Kingdom of God.

Jesus begins with a hard teaching on divorce (I hope you take a chance to listen to my sermon below to explore how we might better understand what Jesus is teaching us.) The “gotcha question” that the Pharisee poses at the beginning of the passage is contrasted with the excitement and willingness of the children that are seeking Jesus out at the close of the passage.

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. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”

So the question becomes what is it about the children that is different from the Pharisee? Both are seeking out Jesus. I don’t think that it is because the kids don’t ask questions. Kids ask questions ALL THE TIME! They ask questions about all sorts of things. They ask questions that are simple or silly. But they also ask questions that are profound and hard to answer.

When Jesus says that we must receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he does not mean simply and without examination. I think he means that we need to ask questions like children—out of curiosity, joy, and love. The Pharisee seeks Jesus out to ask a question to trick Jesus, not to know him better. The kids and the adults who brought them, come to Jesus to know him better.

What questions do you have? How are you seeking to know Jesus better?

A sermon from St. Barnabas in Roanoke:

Audio only available here

Coming next

The 10th chapter of Mark is a critical transition between the transfiguration of Jesus and the triumphal entry into Jerusalem. On the journey to Jerusalem, Jesus teaches about the nature of true discipleship.

The Upside-Down Kingdom . . .

  • Oct. 10 – Messiah, Heflin / “…where the last are first”
  • Oct. 17 – St. Simon Peter, Pell City / “…where the least are the greatest”
  • Oct. 24 – St. Paul’s, Greensboro / “…where the blind can see”

Published by akhudlow

I am a priest in the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Alabama. I am a church nerd, printmaker, storyteller, and blogger.

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