Today’s excerpt from the Gospel of Mark, presents the Lord Jesus in the company of children.
Christ indicates that children are the heirs to the Kingdom of God, and that it is the childlike receptivity that they manifest towards Christ that should be characteristic of all disciples.
Most Christians find this all comforting, and it is a comfort, but it is also revolutionary. How so?
Children were literally the least in terms of the society and culture that received Christ’s revelation. Children, though greatly valued in ancient societies cultures, for the most part, had no real rights, and while many were loved and appreciated, many were used and abused, treated as little more than property.
Therefore, when Christ indicates that it is children who will have privileged status in his Kingdom, he is indicating that his Kingdom will not be like the kingdoms of the world, which privileges the powerful, and esteems the greatest, rather than the least. He does not privilege, as our culture does, the politician, the celebrity or the financier, but he esteems the poor and lowly. Christ the Lord insists that the poor and lowly are not here simply as servants for the mighty, but are the ones who the mighty of the world are called to serve.
Christ’s gesture to welcome children into his company and his insistence that his Kingdom would be for them, is a taunt to men and women of power and influence, who wielded that power and influence to serve their own ego driven desires.
Christ’s Kingdom is not merely an otherworldly reality into which we pass after death, but it is re-ordering of the priorities of society and culture. It is a new way of life, through which, the world in which we live is changed so as to conform, to God’s expectations, rather than the expectations of the world.
Christ’s Kingdom overturns worldly expectations. He does not come simply to affirm, but the transform, and it is not only the individual soul that he intends to change, but the societies and cultures in which the individual is immersed.
The Church is not merely a faith-based clubhouse whose concerns are limited to worship and theological discussion. The Church is the means by which, even right now, Christ is acting to transform the world, upsetting worldly expectations and overcoming our Kingdoms of worldliness with his revelation of the Kingdom of God.