Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” Matthew 19:14
So often we talk about the kingdom of heaven as if we were talking about a place out beyond time. After all, isn’t heaven a place beyond this place? Unfortunately, that misreading has caused us to miss the kingdom that is here and now. In Luke 17:21, Jesus said, “Nor will people say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there! For the Kingdom is already among you.”
The challenge is to open our eyes and our heart and recognize this present moment as a gift and a window in which to see God’s Kingdom. It is more than that, it is an invitation to enter into the kingdom.
In Matthew, the disciples were in a hurry and did not want to take time to give access for the children to see Jesus. “The children had been brought to Jesus that he might lay his hands on them and pray but the disciples tried to send the children away.” Jesus used this moment to teach about the kingdom. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” (Matthew 19)
Again and again we are confronted with opportunities to enter into the kingdom. They are often moments that we do not recognize or that we somehow consider insignificant.
Last week, I spent time with our team in Guatemala. It was around the children that I was most mindful of the kingdom. It was in their contagious joy and laughter. It was in the embrace they offered me as they celebrated my birthday with me. I found myself thinking, such is the kingdom.
The season of Lent is an opportunity for all of us to slow down enough to recognize that we are being invited to enter into the kingdom of heaven. It may be around a table, in a conversation, or simply admiring the beauty of creation. Maybe it will happen in worship. Every day I hope you experience something that makes you say- such is the kingdom!
Grace and Peace,