Archive | October 2021

No Adults In Heaven

Mark 10:2-16

There are no adults in Heaven.

Let me repeat that:

There are No ADULTS in Heaven!

We heard in the Scripture just how much Jesus loved children.

“The promise is for you and your children.”

Notice that this says ‘for YOU and your children. Just because we are adults, we are not excluded from the promise of eternal life and the Kingdom of God.

We also hear that Jesus was upset with the disciples’ refusal to allow the children to come to him – they did not seem to understand his ministry or the importance of children to him.

He said:

Let the little children come to me; do not stop them, for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. (Mark 10:14)

We might ask

‘why children and not adults?

After all, children don’t have much to offer. They are fun to look at and play with and dress up and hold and kiss. But they can’t earn a paycheck; they can’t cook a meal or wash clothes. They can’t cut the grass; they can’t unload the dishwasher. Little children are pretty useless when it comes to doing anything – everything has to be done for them! Little children are dependent upon others for their very survival – they really cannot make it on their own.

So, why children?

Because:

The heart of a child:

offers love and seeks love;

opens spontaneously to others;

shares hopes,

dreams big dreams,

takes chances;

trusts more, fears less.

The mind of a child:

accepts that there is still much to learn;

wonders at every bit of the world;

takes nothing for granted;

asks endless questions;

finds new answers, sees new paths, seek new solutions.

The spirit of a child:

expresses joy;

sees miracles everywhere, every day;

feels blessings;

welcomes God;

seeks to connect itself to others;

is constantly amazed by life.[1]

 

What does that mean?

When adults look at a dandelion patch, we see a bunch of weeds that threaten to take over our yard. Children see flowers for Mom and white fluff you can blow away after you make a wish.

We need to see the flowers again.

When we look at a street person, we often conclude they are a smelly, dirty person who probably wants some of our money. Children smile at street people and delight when they smile back.

We need to smile more.

When we hear music, we worry about getting the words, notes, and rhythm just right. Children feel the beat and move with it. They sing out the words, and if they don’t know them, they pretend they do and make up some words.

We need to tap our feet more and sway our hips to some nonsense songs again.

When adults pray, we ask,

“God, grant me this” or “Give me that.”

Children pray, “

“Thank you, God, for my mommy and daddy and my toys and friends.”

When children say their prayers, they come into the presence of God with a tremendous sense of wonder. When we adults say our prayers, our minds are often distracted by how we give God a hand in securing the answers we want, or how to pray with theological precision.

Let me tell you a story:

A mother put ting her children to bed, and as she walked by the bathroom, she saw her daughter leaning over the bathtub and running water in it. She had six dolls lined up on the floor and had decided the dolls needed to be baptized. Having been to a baptismal service earlier, she was doing the best she could remember. She put the first doll in water and said

‘I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and in the hole you go.’

That’s what she thought the pastor had said.

This is the innocence of children!

We must not do anything to keep “little ones” from knowing the grace and power of Jesus!

We, adults, are always trying to define our place in the “pecking order” of life. Jesus was quite angry with the disciples because they denied the children’s access to him, apparently because they didn’t deem the children worthy of his time, energy, and attention. Jesus turned their common worldly values upside down and reminded them they needed to pay more attention to the innocence of children than their own sense of importance if they were ever going to understand God’s Kingdom.

Notice the last part of Mark 10:14-15:

for the kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these. Truly, I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.

When Jesus says, ‘truly I tell you,’ this is not a suggestion or offhanded remark. He is stating an absolute!

Jesus calls us to become like a little child if we ever hope to enter the kingdom of God. We must have faith like a little child, become dependent like a little child, and receive the kingdom as a gift from God.

We must come before God with our insignificance, and our lack of ultimate security, and our total dependence upon him, and throw ourselves at his mercy. He is the forgiver, and we are the ones in great need of forgiveness.

We need to remember, regardless of our age, we are

all children of God. . .

helpless, dependent on his mercy and grace.

So, the question becomes, how did we lose our childhood faith and optimism in God?

How did we become so jaded that we feel we have the answers to all questions?

How did we look on others as people to be avoided, not embraced?

How did we discount the innocence and silliness of children?

And can we reclaim that?

We need to look at the world through childlike eyes. . .

We need to look at our neighbors and see other children of God . . .

We need to pray for forgiveness and the opening of our eyes.

And, if we can reclaim our childhood faith, then

There will be no adults in Heaven!

Amen

               Delivered at Saint John’s Episcopal Church, Columbus, OH; 3 October 2021


[1]              Leonard Sweet, Collected Sermons, ChristianGlobe Networks