Sunday, 27 May 2012

We Were All Children Once

We were children once, we all were
Eyes wide, wild with excitement
Grinning and giggling with infectious delight
Faces bright, alight with adventure
Feet quick for exploration
Open hearts to love, hearts open to be loved
We were all children, we still are

Author and play write J. M. Barrie, created the character Peter Pan; a boy who never grew up, a boy who’s friends were fairies and other lost boys who lived together like brothers, a boy who desperately needed his mother but was too afraid to admit it.

We’re not so defiant as Peter Pan, I don’t think. He didn’t want to grow up. We don’t mind it so much. But what would it mean for us to take a leaf out of Peter Pan’s book (or a feather out of his hat), and not be too quick to relinquish our youth or lose our identity as children – even when our childhood years have long since passed?

 It’s not about being childish, it’s about being childlike.

In Christian circles we have been guilty of saying that our children are to be seen and not heard. I think we got that one wrong. And, at the other end of the spectrum, we have been guilty of saying our children are the church of tomorrow. We have said these things with our words and we have said them with our actions, and I think we’ve got this one wrong too.

Our society at large has been guilty of saying that the elderly are no longer contributing members of society and are in need of being put out to pasture. We haven’t always said it with our words but we said it with our actions and we said it in the things that we haven’t said. Sadly, this has happened in parts of our society, and perhaps even more sadly, this has happened in parts of the Church. I think we’ve got this one wrong as well.

Our generation of children is not the church of tomorrow; they are the church of today. In the same way, our more mature generations are not the church of yesterday; they are the church of today too. Right from our infants to our elderly, and everyone in between, we are all the church of today. The church is the family of God, and we are all children of God – nothing changes that; not age, not ability, not anything.

So, unlike Peter Pan, let us be boys and girls who do grow up, but just like children, let us all enjoy and delight in life – with all its safety and all its surprise. This is the life God has shared with us through his Son by the Spirit. This is the life that grows in us as we grow in Christ. This is the life.

We were all children once. We still are.


Cate Burton
A child of God

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