“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 19.14 (NIV)

My desk at home faces the front window. I was sitting down to work and suddenly a little boy dressed in a superhero costume ran down the sidewalk, his face lit it up with excitement and joy. He was followed by a father, jogging to keep up, also wearing a cape and mask, and his sister and mother, they too, donned in some form of superhero costumes. The little girl clopped along with plastic princess heels and her cape flapping in the breeze. My heart was happy. My face shone with a smile. My spirit felt lifted. 

What is it about this simple and silly family walk that has the ability, in such a brief moment, to lift us and to create joy? I think partly because it’s pure. It’s simple. It captures the hope of a child and the resilience of our human spirit. Yes, we are scared, we are locked in, and it’s still snowing in April. But superheroes can do anything. And this superhero family gifted me with pure joy. 

This well-known verse in Matthew is one of my favorites because I think it captures the gift children give our world. Through their eyes, we are granted a passport to a different world; a world where wonder still exists, and superheroes can fight off the most dangerous of villains. Theirs is a world where joy is innate and never needs to be justified. Theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 

Jesus understood that they had this gift. Jesus wanted us too to see wonder as they did. 

I am thankful today that this family was not hindered in the midst of this shutdown. I am thankful for the little boy in the blue cape who ran with confidence and hope and joy. I am thankful for a rabbi who saw the wisdom in this and made sure his disciples paid attention to the littlest of those in our midst. For the kingdom of heaven belongs to them. Let’s follow their lead and be gifted by their joy. 

Prayer: God we are desperate to see the kingdom of heaven in our midst. Open our eyes to see the world as your children do and in so doing help us experience wonder and joy. Amen. 

Author: Rev. Darcy Crain