People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ (Luke 18.15-17)
I’m aware this may cut across what I said earlier this week. But I’ve been struck by the way my infant son engages with his environment. I think I have a lot to learn from him about Christian living — and theological inquiry in particular.
When he’s at his best, my son displays a kind of relaxed relentlessness.
He’s relentless in his curiosity. About everything. (This is typically expressed, at this stage, by him putting everything into his mouth. I’m told he’ll grow out of this.)
Yet there’s also a gentleness to his curiosity. He’s relaxed in his explorations. Not an obsessive Captain Ahab.
Perhaps the difference is that in pressing to understand and discover, my son doesn’t seem all that interested in gaining mastery or control. Rather, the goal of his explorations is either wide-eyed wonder or a delighted chuckle.
And whatever else Jesus means us to understand in saying that the kingdom belongs the like of infants, surely it means that we should take our cue from my son’s relaxed relentlessness. Pressing to know God and his world — in the quest not for mastery but for wonder and delight…