Sing! Shout! Praise the Lord!

This morning, I woke to the whiiirrrrrr!! of the blender as Frank made breakfast smoothies. Above the noise of the motor, Bea was singing at top volume: I’M GONNA SING! SING! SING! I’M GONNA SHOUT! SHOUT! SHOUT! PRAISE THE LORD!!!!

When the blender stopped, Frank said, Bea, sing pianissimo!

WHY?!?! I’M GONNA SIT BY JESUS SIDE!

Quiet is a word that is not present much these days. We’re going and playing and singing and doing life and, with a part-Italian three-year-old, quiet just isn’t in the cards for this season.

I was reading the famous passage about Jesus inviting the little children to him.

13 Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; 14 but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.” 15 And he laid his hands on them and went on his way.

Matthew 19:13-15

Growing up, I heard this passage to describe unquestioning faith and wonder at God’s kingdom. As an adult, more and more, I’m hearing it as an invitation to embrace the why of our faith.

IMG_9719But, as a parent, I wonder… Does Jesus really mean that we should shout and dance and be loud as we discover his kingdom? That we should be so excited and so filled with wonder that we have to proclaim it?

Not in a “win people over for Christ” sort of way but in a way that exudes from our actions and decisions. If I am embracing my childlike wonder, if I am so thrilled about what I am learning because of Jesus, shouldn’t it affect all my choices in a loud way? In a way that isn’t passive or comfortable or convenient but in a way that pushes me toward the joyfully loud living of loving my neighbor.

How do you celebrate your faith in childlike joy and wonder?

Linked with Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday, a time to write without editing. Today’s prompt is Quiet.

Faith Like a Child

Bea is in a phase of wanting large amounts of food on her plate. She is a very active eater, so this food doesn’t usually get eaten because she’s running around, distracted. However, she always asks for “a BIG one!” of whatever we’re having.

Lunchtime conversation often looks like this:
Me: Bea, do you want peanut butter and jelly or avocado and cheese?
Bea: I want a BIG one!
Me: Ok, but which sandwich?
Bea: A BIG one!

To her, it doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s a lot. I usually fill our smallest containers full of snacks or meals so that it looks like there’s a lot more than is actually there.

I was reflecting on this need for excess and her scarcity complex and was reminded of how I often view God. Instead of focusing on what God is offering, I just want more. And, often, what I want more of is completely off topic to what God is trying to give.

I wonder if God views our conversations like this:
God: I’m giving you the tools to listen and work towards reconciliation.
Me: I want a BIG (house, car, salary…)!
God: Ok, but how are you going to use the gifts I’ve given you to help build my Kingdom?
Me: I just want a BIG one!

I know we’re supposed to approach faith with childlike learning and wonder. And, when I look at how Bea learns I totally get it. Every day is an amazing new adventure. It’s so cool watching her discover her world and her untainted faith in how it works.

But, I’m looking forward to new phases, as well: To being able to go on outings without having to worry about nap time; To grapple through life and faith when she’s a teenager; To sit down over a beer and solve the world’s problems as an adult. I’m absolutely enjoying these years of small wonders, but I think the years when we’re able to connect on deeper, more meaningful levels will be amazing, too.

Again, I wonder if that’s how God views our relationship. While approaching God with childlike wonder is amazing, moving beyond the “I want” phase into more maturity is amazing, too. My guess is that God looks forward to the day when we can sit down over a drink and truly solve the world’s problems. Or, when we can actually get up and go do things that will bring about Kingdom reconciliation and peace right now.

As I’ve grown in my faith, my conversations with God have definitely shifted from a list of wants and thank-yous to sitting in the moment, grappling with world issues, and listening to that deep silence that often leads to new perspectives.

Biggest question here: Over what kind of drink would you and God solve the world’s problems?