At a wedding banquet some years ago, a little girl named Chelsea, a flower girl at the wedding, came up and asked if I wanted to see her walk on her heels. And she proceeded to show me how well she could do it.
Then she leaned over and said. “ Could I ask you something?’” I said “Sure.” She said “ What was God doing about a million years ago?”
Well, I had to think for a while about that. Then I said something like “A million years ago, God was taking care of the sun in the sky, so that it could shine bright every day. And God was counting all the stars. God was making sure there were enough animals around, like giraffes. About a million years ago, God was taking care of the world and everybody in it, and loved doing it.”
Children ask the best questions, questions that make us think about things we take for granted or maybe we’ve stopped wondering about. Or worse, we may think we know all the answers.
Some of the questions Jesus was asked are like that. “What does God want us to do?” Jesus is asked in today’s gospel. He answered; “God wants you to love him with all your heart, and all your mind, and all your soul. And he wants you to love your neighbor as yourself.”
A curious child wouldn’t let it go at that. “What does loving God with all your heart, and all your mind and all your soul mean?” “How do you do that?” “”What’s does loving your neighbor like yourself mean?” “Who is my neighbor anyway?”
We should never stop asking those questions either. Questions about God and about love are big questions that open the windows of our minds to a bigger world and the way we live in it. They can make us grow.
I suppose that’s why Jesus told us that only by becoming a child will we enter the kingdom of heaven. Don’t lose the sense of wonder a child has. Don’t lose the curiosity of a child. Don’t lose the imagination of a child.
I think this is true especially in religious matters. “ I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.” What does that mean? “I believe in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.” What does that mean?
We need a childlike curiosity and imagination when we approach stories from scripture. My last blog was about an artist who tells the story of Martha and Mary and Jesus in Bethany. He had a wonderful childlike imagination. Take a look at the way at the way he tells that great story.
God meets us through the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. It’s a wonderful story. Let’s not make it too small or forget it.