Childlike Perception…

Reflection: Not trusting in the Good News
Isn’t it funny how we never really believe Good News or perhaps trust the motive for Good News? I know that as soon as a good news story appears on the main news we say it must be a slow news day! Nothing much happening in the world if we are reporting some good. And yet we also wonder whether anything good ever happens in the world. We listen to the radio a lot in the car and Kieran (6) more so than Jessica (3) now picks up on the news and when you listen like a child, the news is sad and difficult.
Kieran told me himself about the baby who had been left on a bench, that the baby was called Charlotte after the police officer who brought her to the hospital and that the police wanted to find her mum because they were concerned for her. Apparently the children had been talking about the story at school.
Often we don’t actually realise how much children pick up on. But later when you are watching the news or listening to it on the wireless then take a moment to hear with the innocence of a child. It changes your perspective because if we are honest there is a part of us that has been hardened to the news.
Call it a protective coating if you wish but we feast on tragedy as the bombings at the Boston marathon proved, we resist the images of starving children in Africa or elsewhere, we are saddened but not motivated by stories of deaths of families whether it be the Philpotts or the mum who died at the multi-storey carpark leaving behind her dead children.
Jesus said that we have to accept faith like a child – As I watch my children interact with the stories in the news or even with bible stories or theology I realise more and more what he meant. It isn’t so much about innocence and immaturity but about unbounded compassion, imagination and genuine openness. Kieran’s sadness and compassion over the baby on the park bench outweighs many an adult who have assumed that it was probably a teenager who couldn’t deal with the burden of a child.
And Jessica has been getting her head around death as we put our wee cat Fergus to sleep just before Easter. She has such a positive belief in heaven it is inspiring. She believes that heaven is a place where she will be happy, more happy than she is here on earth and there is honestly a part of her who is so looking forward to that. She even said that she would be able to play with Gypsy – my mum’s dog who died last year because she wouldn’t be afraid of her. That is faith. That is believing in the promises of God because you have told your child that Auntie Elizabeth is in a better place with God. Jessica’s understanding of life with God is second to none yet she struggles to comprehend him here because we have such a 2 dimension image of God.
In the verses we read from Mark’s Gospel (16:9-20) we were surprised perhaps at the ferocity of the passage. But what really struck me was how much they didn’t want to believe. They couldn’t even process the thought that Jesus might be alive. It was a bit like the miraculous recovery of the miners in Chile. It didn’t seem possible and yet it happened. Jesus was dead and now he was alive again. They didn’t believe Mary. And they refused to believe the men on the road, and then Jesus turns up in their midst.
Yet their lack of faith isn’t enough to make Jesus disown them. He sends them out with a mission – to tell everyone the Good News. His own folks who struggled to believe were now to go out into the world, performing signs and sharing the Good News. The childlike element of faith was demanded – the one that imagined that all these things are possible. My children still believe in superheroes and that they could have super powers. Why not believe that God would give them the power to make a difference in this world. Kieran asked me on Friday if as a minister I had the power to change the world. No pressure there then!
I believe that we all have the power to change the world.
We might not understand everything about faith. We might want to resist the good news – other people can tell the stories of Jesus, other people can heal the sick, other people can do it. But Jesus still wants you. He wants you to spread the Good News and that might be reading bible stories to your grandchildren, praying with them and for them, encouraging them to get involved with their church or just be willing to talk to them about faith, it might be supporting a Christian charity locally or globally, it might be gifting a book of bible stories to the school, it might be willing to lay hands on another and ask God to heal them simply because you are moved by unconditional compassion.
I think if we start reading the Bible, listening to the news, watching people in our community with the perspective of a child we will be less likely to be stubborn and unable to hear the Good News. And perhaps we will change the world for better….

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