Before we continue our journey ... just a gentle reminder to stay with the questions in red in the posts. Any time you have a new topic you want to talk about here on the blog you can always email me. I'm already thinking about what we'll do this summer, so your suggestions will totally help me with that. Again, just email me.
Now, on with our journey.
After Jesus explains to us about the power of having even the tiniest bit of faith, we think about that as we continue on through Capernaum and even spend some time on the beach with Jesus. He told us we could be healed of what we needed to be healed from, and most of us really want to be healed of the fear of not being liked. That's something that hangs on us like cobwebs we can't get rid of.
We discuss that among ourselves while we're on the beach, drawing in the sand with sticks and looking for shells. Y'know, we say, if we're healed of that fear by Jesus, and if everybody DOES like us -- what would that look like? Would we ALL be popular? Could that possibly be? Who would be the MOST popular? Not only that, but who would Jesus love the most in the kingdom he's talking about?
We start to get funky with each other, until somebody (would this be you?) says, "We should probably go ask him."
Oh, yeah, huh?
So we hurry up near the sand dunes where some little kids are playing. Jesus is sitting not far from them and he's smiling at them the way people do when preschoolers are doing something cute. Yikes, who knew Miss Nancy's granddaughter Maeryn was there?
When we all gather around Jesus he turns his attention to us, and just like always, each of us feels like we're the most loved person ever. So each of us thinks, "He's going to say I'm the best, right?"
We all wait for (who?) to ask the question, and she does: "Who is doing the best in God's kingdom?"
Well, it's like Jesus didn't even hear her. He turns to the kids and calls Maeryn over. She drops her bucket and shovel, leaves her sand castle, and comes right to him and climbs into his lap. Miss Nancy gasps; Maeryn hardly ever does that because she's so cautious with people.
"Here's the deal," Jesus says to us as he holds Maeryn close. "If you really want to be part of this new way of being -- not just in heaven but here on earth -- you need to be like this little girl."
Nobody says it but we're all thinking it: everyone tells us we need to grow up and start acting more mature. Jesus is telling us to act like we're three?
As if he's reading our minds (which he probably is), Jesus says, "I don't want you to be child-ISH. No whining and grabbing and -"
"Pitching a fit," Maeryn says.
"Right. I want you to be child-LIKE in your faith. There's a difference."
We don't get it. Jesus knows it.
"Maeryn," he says, "who am I?"
"Jesus," she says.
"Do I love you?"
"Do you love me?"
"Because you take care of me and you don't get mad at me when I don't listen."
Jesus kisses the top of her head and lets her get down.
"That's all I want from you," Jesus says to us. "Love me. Know that I love you. Trust me to guide you and forgive you." He spreads out his hands. "That's it."
One of us blurts out, "But what about people who believe in you but they say --"
Jesus just shakes his head. "Don't make it so complicated. Just don't."
Maeryn tugs at Jesus' sleeve. "Will you come build a sand castle with me?" she says.
A couple of us roll our eyes. (anyone?) Some even shake their heads at Maeryn. All of us are thinking, "Come on, kid. He's explaining stuff to us right now. Go play." Even Miss Nancy is about to say, "Mae, he'll be with you in a minute, sweet baby."
And Jesus? He stands up and brushes the sand from the seat of his shorts and grins down at Maeryn. "You bet I will, little Missy," he says. And to us he says, "Whenever you stop to pay attention to somebody who is childLIKE in her faith, no matter how old she is, you're paying attention to me."
"Wow," one of us says as Jesus goes off to build a sand castle. "We were wrong."
"But you know what's weird?" someone else says. "I don't feel like I just got scolded. It just feels right to me."
"Me, too!" we all chime in.
Then we stretch out in the sand and we talk some more. We talk about people we know who have that kind of faith. And we talk about how we can learn from them. We each have a different thing we need to learn, like:
*not comparing ourselves to other people
* not trying to be better than everyone else, especially when it comes to being a Christian
* not arguing with people about things like how you get baptized
* not worrying about everybody liking us
Some of us write about that in our Talking To God Journals too, and comment about it.
And we promise to keep following Jesus tomorrow.