Fred Rogers said, “All events are formative. All contribute to what we become, year by year as we keep on growing.” He goes on to quote a friend of his who said, “You aren’t the age you are, you’re all the ages you’ve ever been.’” The world we inhabit is different than it once was. That is absolutely true. Exactly how and when things changed is hard to say. I’d have to think that it was gradual, beginning a long time ago. Of course, the pandemic didn’t help. Now, it may be that there’s no going back to the way things were. Maybe we cannot turn back time. But I believe that there’s an inner child in everyone with whom we need to become re-acquainted or perhaps meet for the first time. We dismiss—or ignore—the child within us at our peril. I think Jesus felt the same way.
The art to the right is an Orthodox Icon, artist unknown
1 My child, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, 2 for length of days and years of life and abundant welfare they will give you. 3 Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 Then you will find favor and high regard in the sight of God and of people. 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. 8 It will be a healing for your flesh and a refreshment for your body. 9 Honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce; 10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. 11 My child, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, 12 for the Lord reproves the one he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
1 So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on the things that are above, not on the things that are on earth, 3 for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory. 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 He called a child, whom he put among them, 3and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.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.