Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Perfect All Hallowed's Eve

A magazine that arrived yesterday also included a small Gospel tract. Amanda is just starting to read and was begging me to read it to her. It had simple cartoon pictures that brought up lots of questions. The first part went through what happens if we try to get to heaven on our own and face the judgement. As the story progressed and the man's sin was pointed out and his name was not found in the Book of Life, she was getting a little teary.  When his judgment was read and he was told to depart, she started sobbing. 

Now, in general, Amanda is pretty emotional, she also started sobbing when a cartoon penguin lost his little brother, but still. She grasped that sin separates us from God and that's really sad. And she grasped that she has sinned. It was hard to get her to calm down to listen to the second half of the story, The Good News, but I think I've reassured her enough. 

Trying to explain things to Amanda made me visualize and verbalize the Good News in a way I never had. If we try to get to heaven on our own, we face the judgement. We have to be perfect. And we've all failed. Amanda knows she's failed. But if we ask Jesus to bring us home; if we ask Jesus to take our hand and bring us to heaven, we have a free pass. It's like trying to get into a fancy dinner and the bouncer looks at his list and you're not on it. But if you walk in with Jesus, it's all good.

As I'm writing this I'm thinking of all the hymns, songs, and sermons that fit this illustration. I've grasped this through grown up eyes, but looking at it through a child's eyes gives me new perspective.  

Now, I've been a Christian for years, and I get the sacrificial atonement and Jesus dying for our sins and all of that. But that is a complicated topic for a five year old. We talk a lot about it about it but it's confusing to her. But she understands that she can't go places by herself; she needs some one to take her. So understanding that she needs Jesus to take her to heaven makes sense. Kids are so great! They make us really think about what we believe.

Sometimes it feels like my kids aren't welcome in church because they are "disruptive," but Jesus doesn't feel that way about them.  In fact, he set them before us as our role models.

The girls and I have started going to the Catholic Church on Saturday nights with my family.  It's often quite an event with my mom, grandma, sister, brother, their spouses and kids and my aunt.  We take up at least one whole row and try to spread the kids out among the adults but usually we are outnumbered.  It's a little chaotic but one of the first nights we were there, this was the reading. (I don't remember exactly where the passage ended, but thought it was interesting that Jesus talked about the little kids for so long.)

Matthew 18

New International Version (NIV)

The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven

18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Causing to Stumble

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble,cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.

The Parable of the Wandering Sheep

10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven. [11] [a]
12 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.

The next time, we heard this passage:

Mark 10:13-16

New International Version (NIV)

The Little Children and Jesus

13 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” 16 And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Or maybe it was this passage:

Matthew 19

New International Version (NIV)

The Little Children and Jesus

13 Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.
14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.

I need to record this day for her and remind her of it often. Halloween: what a perfect day to have her eyes opened.


snekcip said...

Great post! Love her precious heart!! What a cherished moment.

e&e said...

Thanks for sharing this. My mom said she loves seeing you all in church, and was especially happy to get to hold Julia during service.