Childlike Church

One of my favourite books is called Dangerous Wonder by Mike Yaconelli.  The tag line of the book is ‘the adventure of childlike faith’.  In it Mike argues that following Jesus should be an adventure.  That Jesus is dangerous and wonderful and that Christians should be known for the fire in their souls, the wild-eyed gratitude in our faces, the twinkle in our eye and the holy mischief in our demeanour.

There are quotes, poems and stories at the beginning of each chapter.  They set the scene and give a flavour of what’s coming.

There are two at the beginning of chapter 4, ‘daring playfulness’.  The first is this quote from a Rabbi’s sermon:

‘Life is tough.  It takes up much of your time, all of your weekends and what do you get at the end of it?  I think the lifecycle is all backward.  You should die first, get that out of the way.  Then you should live twenty years in an old age home.  You get kicked out when you’re too young.  You get a gold watch, you go to work.  You work for forty years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement.  You go to college, you party until you’re ready for high school.  You go to primary school, you become a little kid, you play, you have no responsibilities.  You become a little baby, you go back into the womb.  You spend your last nine months floating in the womb and end up as a glint in someone’s eye.’

I love that sentiment.  It makes me smile.

But perhaps the second short quote is one we should really pay attention to this week.

“I was never young because I never dared to be young.”

Is that where we are in our faith and in our church?  Are we scared to be young?  Are we trying to be great without knowing what greatness is?

What would it mean to be a childlike church?  Not just child-friendly, but childlike.  How can we become a place of imagination and daring and wonder and playfulness?

When Jesus points towards the least he picks a child.  He doesn’t pick someone who is rubbish at everything and he doesn’t pick the poorest and he doesn’t make fun or embarrass anyone.  He picks a child.  A child who needs looked after and nurtured and encouraged and played with… and loved.  Maybe that’s a clue about what church should be like…

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