Wednesday, September 27, 2006

back in the book of Matthew

I took a little break from the book of Matthew, but got back today where I left off... Matthew 18.

what a loaded chapter! I think for the longest time, I've really overlooked the first part about children and just assumed that as long as I wasn't a child-abuser or pedophile than I didn't need to spend too much time there.

I was wrong. By now, this does not surprise me.

I don't know for sure yet how verses 1-9 apply to me, but I have a strong feeling that it will somehow be connected to these words about the passage from Eugene Kennedy ...

"A child, above all, is unselfconscious, incapable of artifice, and capable, then, of grasping the attitudes and motivations of others with a clarity that is astounding.
The Kingdom belongs to the people who aren't trying to look good or impress anybody, including themselves... God smiles on those people who are not aware of themselves and are not full of plots about how to seize the world's attention. The first citizens of the Kingdom Jesus preaches are the lovers who give themselves without studied awareness to their spouses, children, students, and friends.
These wonderful people reveal God freshly in every generous and unplanned impulse of their hearts....The Kingdom belongs to those, as artless as children, who love others simply and directly, without thinking about anything but them."

Have you ever spent time trying to remember back -- waaayyy back-- before the accumulation of wounds and sins (committed by yourself and others) piled up like too many layers of paint over your self??

I have. And this is what I recall.

I was a child who took delight in loving other people. I saw nothing foolish in giving myself to people for the basic reason of seeing them smile...making them happy. I was happy and I loved the things around me -- my bedroom, my toys, my Grandma's macaroni salad at family picnics -- so why shouldn't everyone else share in that joy, too??

I know boundaries have to be learned. That God didn't intend for us to grow up with no discernment and protection. But I'm thinking about my little girl-heart. That heart of giving for the joy of giving and loving for the joy of loving and smiling for the joy of smiling...that is what I picture now when I'm thinking about Jesus' words.

I believe Jesus can take me back to that heart-place again -- the place where I know I am not alone and unprotected, but loved and cared for. I think that heart place feels like the unknown child sitting on Jesus' knee in verse 2. The teacher Jesus sought out the best visual possible to illustrate his point.

He has my attention.
Now on to my favorite topic of conflict, joy, joy.
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