Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” (Matthew 19:14)
“Oh those Christians”, sighs the non-believer, “so childish in their beliefs”. Thus the shadow of naivety is often thrown across the church. Christians are simply credulous relics from an earlier superstitious age. The human race has now grown up, and must shrug off such childish ways.
And here, in front of us, do we not have exhibit A? Is not Jesus himself telling us to be childish?
Well no, not really. What Jesus has in mind is receiving “the Kingdom of God like a child”. He is talking about an attitude of openness and curiosity. It is trusting God as a loving parent, and putting to one side the accumulated cynicism of our years which tends to coarsen our receptiveness. It is a willingness to ask and not assume you know it all.
Ultimately, the more we allow ourselves to be childlike in this way the more we allow God to be “our Father”. It is the curious and trusting child who learns, and the self-contented adult who becomes trapped in his or her thinking.