A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, 5, and Ryan, 3. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. “If Jesus were sitting here,” she began, “he would say, ‘Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait.’” Kevin promptly turned to his brother and said, “Ryan, you be Jesus.”
Then, on their way to church that morning, the mother said to the boys, “And why is it necessary to be quiet in church?” This time Ryan responded, “Because people are sleeping.”
No wonder Jesus sensed that the kingdom belongs to children. Unless we become that innocent, that imaginative, that honest, we will never know what it means to be alive in Christ. Children’s minds are so open to learning; their spirits are so ready to accept change; their hearts and souls are so confident that God loves them. And the even more astounding miracle is that some adults never lose that childlike faith.
They, too, continue to learn more and more about themselves and the world in which they live; they, too, continue to embrace change as a way of stretching themselves and growing the Church; they, too, continue to believe that God’s love will help them through even the most tragic of circumstances. And it is for them that the kingdom of heaven will dawn.
Autumn—a time of change in the cycle of nature—begins this week. Daylight gives way to darkness, which has its own warmth and beauty. As we let the child within us emerge, we play in the leaves, stuff scarecrows, paint pumpkins, and eat apples and in every activity give praise to our God with hearts hued in the colors of God’s grace.