The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them. Mark 10:13-16
As I was preparing for a sermon, I was reminded of Robert Fulghum's "All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten." As I read it, I wondered what it would be like if we applied his principles to Christianity.
Jesus invites us to emulate the simplicity of a child. If you think simplicity means simple-minded, I invite you to really watch kids. They are anything but simple-minded. They can make a rocket ship out of a rubber band and a paper clip. They can see shapes and images in clouds.
They seem not to be encumbered with everything we as adults seem to add onto ourselves.
So maybe their pure and simple spirit allows them to keep the main thing, (sharing the love of Jesus), the main thing.
What would happen in churches everywhere and in our own lives if we did indeed rewrite the kindergarten rules to fit to the Christian life? They might go like this. (Robert Fulghum's rules are in bold. My additions for Christian living are italicized.)
What do you think? How would it impact how we live as Christ's followers?
Share everything ... Share your faith ... Share your time, talents and treasure. Especially share God's mercy, love and forgiveness.
Play fair ... Allow room for other people, for their differences and their uniqueness.
Don't hit people ... Perhaps we even go so far as turn the other cheek as the Bible tells us.
Put things back where you found them ...
Clean up your own mess ... Don't expect someone else to do the work God has equipped you for and given you to do.
Don't take things that aren't yours ... Be thankful for the blessings you have received from God.
Say you are sorry when you hurt someone ...
Wash your hands before you eat ... Before you come to take of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, confess your sins and ask forgiveness.
Flush ... Let things go that don't build up the Body of Christ.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you ... Enjoy all the blessings of life that God has given you.
Live a balanced life. Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some ...
Take a nap every afternoon ... Take a break and enjoy God's world.
When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together ... We are built by God to need one another. Seek out a community that loves and respects you.
Be aware of wonder ... Open your eyes every day to God's amazing and abundant grace.
Well, what do you think? Did we already learn the basics of Christian living in kindergarten? May we seek always to live as "children of God."
Lesley Radius is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church, Hays.