Like Children

I’m writing to you this week from children’s camp in Athens where Renee, Jonathan, our kids and I have been surrounded by woods, old and new faces, and questions about faith. Our kids begin each day here with a shared meal and a celebration before they go off in groups to a rotation of art, outdoor games, and Bible stories. After lunch, they enjoy activities like swimming, choir, and crafts before everyone comes together again for worship after dinner.

I couldn’t help notice in worship last night the way our camp pastor, Laura, led our children. With seriousness, she told them stories about Christian life with a simpleness that had caught my focus before the end. Simplifying her language, she talked to our kids in a way they understood, without asking them to come to her level, in what became clear to me this afternoon as a gesture of humility.

I don’t know a lot about this gesture, except that I find it hard, and that, as a general rule, which Laura followed in worship last night, it asks us to come to others before we ask them to come to us.

I wonder how different our lives would be if we showed up in the world this way. How would our daily living change if we showed up in the lives of others before they showed up in ours?

I can count many times in my life where I have used language unfamiliar to others in order to say something meaningful. And over and over, I’ve failed to make sense. And even though certain ways of talking have places and purposes, my circle comes to its close: it is our job to go to other people.

It is what children to. They go to where the other people are, which is why I’ve never worried about our kids making it to the next activity on time here at camp. They see the other people and go to them. They do not question the impulse, only follow it.

Does God invite us to be children?

After all, Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me.” I wonder if there is more waiting for us in these words than we think.

From kids’ camp,

Benjamin Smith
Pastoral Resident

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