The addition today of William and Charlotte Harrison to our Wednesday morning prayer group significantly brought down the average age of those attending. It also served as a wonderful illustration concerning the point Jesus was making to his disciples when asked; "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’” Matthew 18.1. Jesus’ response was to call a child, whom he then put among them, saying; "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”.
As was oftern the case, a simple action or pithy one liner from Jesus spoke volumes, again in this case turning upside down the perceived pecking order of importance of who and what was great in the kingdom of God. The powerless “little ones”, either in age, gender, outcasts or on the margins, it would seem have always had a special place in the heart of God, if not always IN the rest of society.
This warning of pre-judging and selective sorting, also featured in our last parable of Jesus that we studied on Sunday, looking at the parable of the dragnet, where all sorts, varieties and sizes of sea creatures would be brought from sea to shore. Whilst it may be a human preoccupation to try to establish; “who is in", and "who is out”, the parable demonstrates that when it comes to the kingdom, that is not our job. For if we are to concentrate on anything other than simply being fish ourselves, it is to be gatherers rather than sorters. Indeed when it comes to the final sorting, we could be surprised (pleasantly I trust) as to the nature and results of the process. We are called to gather, and indeed, one of our current mission priorities as a church is to implement the 3 M’s: identifying and creating occasions and events whereby there are More people in the Mix, More of the time! Our last such event was the pancake party announcing the onset of Lent. Towards the end of Lent, we hope to share a Passover Meal on Maundy Thursday at teatime on 9 April, where once again in their questions, children take the centre stage.
Until then and throughout Lent, may our God, bless us and keep us.