Jesus loves the little children. Because someone has to, right? Last Sunday I led the group son1 goes to at church. It’s a small group involving him and another one or two children. It’s fun, we tell a story, sing a bit, play a game, do craft and generally learn some simple thing about Jesus. Last week we were learning that Jesus loves children. There’s a part of one of the accounts of Jesus’ life where his mates stop children coming to him. Presumably because they were disruptive, not a culture that were all that into kids etc. Jesus tells his friends off, says let them come to me and, what I can only imagine as, an epic bundle happened as children clambered all over Jesus. They probably didn’t form an orderly queue for a quiet blessing on their heads as some might imagine. You’ve met children. Children are pretty disruptive, run to their own weird timetable and do the thing you really don’t want them to at the right moment to cause the most embarrassment. If Jesus had welcomed my 3 year old that day they would have probably talked about poo. That’s all son1 wants to say right now. Let’s face it Jesus would probably found it hilarious. He did have a hand in inventing it after all.
It was good for me to teach this crazy truth last week because by the end of our time together I thought that Jesus could blooming well have the little children. I did not want them anymore. Son1, because I was leading, decided that listening and joining in (which I know he does for everyone else) was not going to happen and I got frustrated and increasingly annoyed and worried that the other grown up in the room would think I was a rubbish parent and hopeless Sunday school leader. But again and again I had to repeat the point. Jesus loves the little children. Jesus loves you. (And yes in all my frustration he loves me too.)
It occurs to me that Jesus can’t have worried too much about appearance or timekeeping or order or structure if he welcomed children. Children aren’t predictable or easy to keep to order. They are messy and loud and say the wrong things at the wrong time for all to hear. Maybe there is something to be learned here from Jesus hanging out with the kids. Maybe I need to breathe more, worry less about what people think and enjoy the wonder that Jesus loves being with children. As they are. Before they clean up their act, pay attention or sit still for 3 minutes. That’s a Good Thing because he might just love me like that too.
I phoned my mum up to ask how she had dealt with me being her Sunday school class when I was small. She laughed a knowing laugh and told me I’d had to be moved to a different group because I was so disruptive. There you go. I’m going to attempt to take it as a compliment that he feels so at ease with me he’s able to be himself. Hmmm. Maybe.