But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant andsaid to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it isto such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 15Truly I tell you, whoeverdoes not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’16And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
This has been a painful, destructiveand depressing week, I am referring to the three headlines that have dominatedthe news this week.
15 year old Megan Stammers ,5 year old April Jones and theallegations surrounding Jimmy Saville. These stories have brought back in tothe full glare of the media and the sight of every one of us of the dangersthat our children face.
Hearing Jesus tell us that weare to receive the kingdom of God as a little child, reading how he took themin his arms and laid hands on them to bless them is in stark contrast to somany children’s experiences, maybe even our own childhood experiences.
It seems that with theterrible catalogue of children whose abuse has lead to their death, even with awhole host of new laws seeking to safeguard our children the image of Jesus isone that mocks our own desire and ability to love one another and cherish everyliving person as we know we can.
It was wonderful day togetherin NW4 and NW9! Congratulations to
Gbenga and Mopude on their birthdaywhich we celebrated at St John’s Church and following the example of Jesus laidhands upon them and blessed them anointing them against and asking our Lord toprotect them from the dangers that they face in this world. It was also a joyto meet and welcome Raymond and Deirdre and their two children who havemoved to this part of London from Kingston Jamaica to work for the JamaicanHigh Commission. At St Matthias it was good to see Rae and Nisha and Jasmine inchurch – its been a while so don’t leave it so long! And congratulations toStephen and Eliza who are expecting their second child, a girl in December.
So often we talk about how weneed to believe in this God of love;
but what we celebrate todayreminds us of a different fact, it reminds us that even when we don't believein God, God believes in us.
I am sure most of you have seen WaterfordCrystal. It is
beautiful to look at. The only problem is when you drop it, it
shatters into a thousand pieces and nomatter how hard you try to
glue the broken pieces back together itnever looks as beautiful
as before it was dropped.
Sometimes we get the idea that as humanbeings we are like leaded
crystal. We are lovely until we make a mistake - and we all make
them. Then life shatters into a thousand pieces and can never be
put back together just right - never putback the way God meant
it to be.
But if we are to compare human life to anyobject around us, we are better compared to the children's toy Silly Putty orplay dough than to leaded Crystal. Like SillyPutty or Play dough , we can be pulled apart, rolled into little balls, flungagainst the wall, or smashed flat.
But like Silly Putty or playdough we can always be scraped back together again, forgiven, reworked,remoulded, and reshaped into someone that is even more beautiful than before.
God believes in us,
God believes that we are not beyond help
God loves us,
and God, in Christ, has come,and still comes today,
to forgive us, to scrape usback together again,
and mould us intosomething even better
than that whichwe were before.
It is this that we celebratetoday,
It is this that will givecourage and hope and strength to us and those around us as we struggle to buildand love in the face of destruction and loss.
It is to children that thekey to understanding the kingdom of God is given rather than those who love tobe right and indulge in endless argument and debate about how we should live. Isit of no significance that in response to the debate around marriage anddivorce that those around Jesus seemed most interested in, that Jesus takes achild and commends their dependence upon love and their trust in those aroundthem as a key to the Kingdom of God?
God has made us his family,
a family that stretches around the world,
a family that is called to love as wehave been love,
to forgive as we have beenforgiven,
to give as we have beengiven too.