Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Leaning Into Lent: Day 25—Unless…

Millstone Image from here
Jesus said unless I turn and become childlike I will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Mt 18.3). The spiritual disciplines of an Holy Lent are designed to dismantle my prideful, “adult” delusions of grandeur revealing my true healthy, humble, God-given childlike self.

What would I be like if I was childlike? I would play more and be joyful. I would be mischievous. I would be dependant on others for food, clothing, shelter, protection and learning about what is right and wrong. I would be growing and learning exponentially. I would be innocent.

Holy Lent disciplines help with all that. Self examination and penitence help with the mischief, innocence and knowing what is right and wrong. Prayer establishes God’s place in my life and my dependent place in his. Fasting also reminds me of my dependence as does Almsgiving, which also teaches me to share and be playful (or cheerful—2 Cor 9.7) in generosity. Reading and meditating on the Word of God grows me and teaches me.

Jesus goes on in the next few verses to describe a blessing and a warning to my adult self concerning my responsibilities towards children.
Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me (Mt 18.5)
May my Lenten discipline make me more open and welcoming to children, especially in church. But,
Whoever causes one of these little ones to sin…(Mt 18.6)
…the consequences are not good. What are some ways I could cause a little one to sin? I could teach them by my example that such things as worshipping God in church, forgiving and loving my neighbour and tithing, are optional—good if I have the time, but not necessary. I could teach them that it doesn’t matter what they believe as long as they are “spiritual” and believe something. I could teach them in word and deed that what the Bible calls sin, is not.

Or I could just tie a millstone around my neck and try and drag it to the nearest body of water.