Bless You, Child of God
Tony E Dillon Hansen
Sermon based upon Mark 10:13-16, Psalm 8 and Genesis 2:18-24.
When I was young, my brother and I would stay with one of my aunts. One particular day, I was following her around the house while she was doing things and asking her questions (drilling actually): what this was, where was that and why was this. She turned to me at one point and asked my why do you ask so many questions?
When my son, Tyler, was 6 years old, his imagination was big and wild - still is. He could pick up a stick and suddenly he had sword with magical powers. Together, we could go on big adventures looking to stop massive creatures sure to bring doom.
Children, in nursing homes, will go to people they do not know and sit with them just because that person looked like they could use company. I have witnessed children, in the hospital themselves, speak not of their pain but reach out to console others.
The people are bringing their children to Jesus. (You can imagine in all sorts of duress and push back.) Jesus gets annoyed by this and tells them to “Stop! Let the children just come to me.”
Whoever wants to enter the kingdom of God, must do so as a little child - and on their own.
Jesus then lays his hands upon the children and blesses them.
Why does Jesus do this?
In the ancient near east, children are almost invisible - having no rights, no authority, no status. That doesn’t mean that their parents didn’t love them. (Obviously, they were trying to get Jesus to touch them.)
A theme in Mark, as we have discussed and will again, is “power” - who has it has and who has favor, specifically with Jesus.
Thing about children is just because they do not have power or authority (even today), doesn’t mean they are nothing or have nothing. I often find that like myself, my son and the children I encounter, each of them come full of amazement and wonder!
So when you find yourself looking at someone and wanting to criticize the way they look, how they dress or judge their positions on issues - maybe instead, be inquisitive again and take off the adult glasses we have worn for so long.
In fact, consider when was the last time you took off the glasses of adulthood and saw the world as a 6 year old: A child with so many questions, so many interests, and so much compassion, no worries (except for the monster under the bed) and no concern for status and excited about dessert!
A child is willing to each chocolate cake for breakfast while others have your eggs, oatmeal and toast.
We all like to make assumptions about people when we see them. We make assumptions about what must be good for me is good for you and vice versa. We want to project these ideas upon each other like we have self-made authority to deliver such.
Adulthood is learning about and living with assumptions. Assumptions are good at declaring judgments with critical eyes while overlooking obvious pain. They help us create curtains and blinders to the naked truth of the world or witnessing the truly awesome spectacle around us that is Earth, nature and the kingdom of God.
They prevent us from doing the right things because it might look weird or off. While we are fretting and worrying, a child is looking for something/someone to play with. Maybe we look for that instead of assume.
Beloved, always remember this: that we are children of the One. Psalm 8 and Genesis remind us that we were put in the garden of God with so much potential and wonder - with a mutual task. We are given stewardship over this great playground called creation. How do you care for this creation? How do you invite others to play in this playground?
Not by telling them what to do or how to do it, but how we together care for creation and be with each other - yes just because.
Think about this. Jesus lays hands upon the children and blesses them.
This isn’t the mockery type of blessing or a pun. This is a real blessing.
What is that, you ask? Blessing someone is to “convey a benefit.” That is to say “observe who you are, what gifts you have, and what is possible.” It can be from a Bible verse (1 John 3), Psalm or simpler.
So too, O child of God,
You, beloved, are blessed this day! You are awesome and full of hope! You are worthy of love, questions, imagination, and compassion. You beloved, are a child of God. You are blessed!
How do you bless children or people?
Simple: “Jesus loves you and so do I.”
Remember as I said last time, it takes practice. Practice on your neighbors around you here.
When you go home, remember to bless each other. Bless your children (young or old). Why would you do that? Answer: because you are worth it! You, beloved are a blessed child of God.
This isn’t once and done. This is every day and every person you encounter because they too are a child of God.
So I say again, O child of God,
You, beloved, are blessed this day! You are full of hope- full of imagination and want to play! You are worthy of so much love and compassion. You beloved, are a child of God. You are blessed!
Jesus loves you and so do I.
Thanks Be to God.