I wouldn’t trade being the father of a little girl for anything in the world. My sister has five sons (ages 11-1), and I have a couple of friends with lots of boys. I wouldn’t mind having a boy as well, but Ariel is a tremendous joy.
Her friend Paige comes over a couple times a week so they can go to karate together, and today when Paige’s dad dropped her off, Ariel was out in the field checking out a dragonfly. The two of them laid on the grass for a good ten minutes, talking softly while they watched the dragonfly. Eventually, it took to the air and alighted on Paige’s hand. This, of course involved lots of girlie squeals of excitement. Then it flew off.
As I watched the girls, I was struck by how seldom we adults revel in the simplicity of the moment. Ariel is far from what I would consider sedate. She talks almost ceaselessly and like all children of her generation, she requires almost constant input of information or activity. But when something grabs her heart and imagination, she is attentive and alert. She and Paige were completely focused on the dragonfly. It was a new, wonderful experience.
What happens to human beings that we lose that childlike attention, that absolute faith in the moment? Why is it necessary that we be born again to see the Kingdom of God (a phrase Jesus uses in John 3, and incidentally is used incorrectly by almost everyone else)? Why must we come to Jesus as children rather than as intelligent, accomplished adults?
I think Jesus wanted us to have an attitude of marvel and expectation in every moment with him. He wanted us to let go of the way we think the world works so he can unpack the marvel of the moment – what grace looks like just now; how divinity is revealed in this glimmering second. He wants us to live with that kind of eager absorption that children have in the moment that something new is revealed.
What is worship if it isn’t constant celebration of the moment of Jesus’ revelation? That rebirth in the presence of the Kingdom? What is confession if it is not the sudden recognition of my own bland, pale righteousness in the moment that I see Christ’s glory?
In the moments when I am walking with Christ and he is revealing things, I’d rather be like a little girl watching a dragonfly than like a grownup pastor who has it all figured out.