How many times in church have I thought, "This is not a place for children" or "How dare they bring the little ones to this kind of occasion". But we hear the radical teaching of this man Jesus that they are not the unruly, I am.
How terribly un-loving I am for trying to keep anyone away from our Lord. Have we ever thought this about visitors to our church? Have we thought this of certain people who come to worship or, certain types who come to our meetings? Or worse yet, how to we feel about accepting the dirty, lowly, street people. Would we, like Jesus accept them in to our circle of content? Would we welcome the whisky-stained vagrant? Would we even welcome Mary Magdalene to our Christmas dinner?
It was some time ago that my nephews were little ones, but I clearly remember how open they were to everyone. They had a kind of instinct to go to people, to look at them and size them up, to smile and wave that little child-wave that only kids can do. I remember a time when children were encouraged by their parents to be that way and to be friendly to the stranger, the uncle, the village Scrooge that we have all known. But, unfortunately that was another time, because now Satan has taken advantage of their innocence, he has perverted the touch, the smile, the open loving outreach of our relationship with children and, in fact, our relationship to each other.
Can you remember the last time that a child would come running to you as a stranger and grab your hand or asked your name? Or can you remember the last time that you did the same to another human being? You see, someone has replaced open and generous love with suspicion and doubt. We find that we are becoming insular, reserved and aloof for fear of being rejected or for being suspect. There was a time when teachers could actually touch their students, we could greet each other with the kiss of peace and a gentle healing touch of an office worker was not a cause for a law suit. I wonder in today's world Jesus would even be trusted to, "take them up in His arms, lay His hands on them and bless them".
We have lost the God given trait of innocence and the spontaneity of Christian openness because of the world's evil force. We are not innocent anymore. We are not trusting any longer. Satan has won this battle.
"They brought the little children to Him so that he could touch them." Imagine that!
What have we allowed ourselves to become?