It’s kind of you to suggest that, @Randy, but I’m being very honest when I say it was the two young hearts who were guiding the rest of us.
All the knowledge and education in the world can’t help you when your desperately ill two and a half year old child is staring you in the eye with pure trust and you have to decide how you’re going to meet that trust.
It’s an enormous responsibility. And it’s a life changing moment for both you and your child. Suddenly you’re called to look at the mirror of your own heart and soul (a mirror you didn’t know you had till that moment). And you have to decide whether you want to be a person who’s worthy of that kind of trust.
Christianity often teaches us that this is moment when you’re helpless and unworthy; you can do nothing except hope and pray for God to give you everything you lack. But, after many years of reflection and contemplation and conversation with God, I no longer accept this traditional Christian interpretation.
I think Jesus’ teachings about little children and the Kingdom are telling us to look at the emotional courage of young children, a courage children are born with, a courage we somehow lose by the time we grow up.
It’s the courage to trust God that opens wide the doors to relationship with God, but the courage has to be your own, not God’s. What, after all, would be the point of God giving you some of God’s own courage so you can reflect it back at God? Wouldn’t that be a bit, well, grandiose? God is many things – brilliant, kind, patient, forgiving, generous – but one thing God is not is grandiose.
As I’ve come to understand it, the courage has to be our own. God expects us to find it and reclaim it, then use it to keep our hearts open so we can hear God’s ongoing guidance.
How do you reclaim that inner courage? I don’t think there’s an easy answer to this question. But I’m pretty darned sure it’s the question Jesus wants us to ask.