The longer we live the more we witness suffering, violence, injustice and all other sorts of problems prevalent in a world formed by systems of anxiety, exclusivism, coercion, and fears of scarcity. Others tell us that this is the way the world works and if you want to make it, you better live accordingly and not be idealistic or naive. We start to believe it and slowly begin mistaking cynicism for maturity and apathy for wisdom.
Then, we hear Jesus call us to childlike faith but we are unable to imagine a world where enemies can be forgiven, loved or prayed for, so we submit to anxiety-driven violence. We are unable to imagine a society where those who look different or believe in a set of values opposed to our own can be welcomed and understood, so we exclude them and find ways to justify ourselves. We are unable to imagine a society where we treat others as we would be treated, so we jockey for position or power over another, or worse, tear down others as we cling to our “rights,” or take what isn’t ours in the name of preserving our “way of life” or maintaining “national interests.” Consequently, Christ-followers begin living as if this way of life has the final word and left incapable of imagining a world where it’s possible to submit to and demonstrate the reign of the crucified and risen Lord. Tragically, many of us do not see, can not see, or refuse to see this to be true.
Perhaps this is why Jesus calls us to welcome the reign of God into our lives like little children. I believe he is inviting his people to believe foolishly in a world of new possibilities. He invites us to envision a world where we believe resurrection is possible because we believe God is actively at work in, between and among us. He invites us to believe that the power of self-giving love can turn enemies into friends, that the excluded can be included and neighbors cared for because true compassion can move us toward mutual understanding in spite of disagreement. The crucified and risen King Jesus invites us to believe that the last can be first, the meek can inherit the earth, and self-giving love always ultimately wins. But to believe any of it, to embrace any of the Lord’s description of this kingdom that is and is to come, we must shake off our cynicism and choose to believe again.
As a people of the resurrection we must allow God to form within us childlike faith.