…Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Luke 18:16 (KJV)
So… there is a dog next door, one that does not have to search to find its bark.
Nor does he have to search for his excitement; that comes several times a day, in predictable intervals. In short, whenever it’s time to go for a walk, it’s time for the dog to go berserk. Several times a day, every time, it goes berserk. Every. Single. Time.
The howling and yelping once drove me to distraction; now that sound puts a smile on my face. I love this Spaniel’s raw exuberance at the thought of the walk that it knows so well. That Spaniel anticipates the walk with hope, trust, expectation, and a sort of humility that it will be the greatest experience ever. Like the four times yesterday. And the four times tomorrow.
I have no knowledge of the Spaniel attending church – I don’t think it even reads a Bible – and it’s safe to assume it doesn’t walk in the faith. But it walks in a type of faith: a type of childlike faith.
St Francis of Assisi saw lessons in the ‘faith’ of animals and birds. Each morning a sparrow awakes it is reliant on the environment that God created.
Childlike faith is important in the Bible. The Gospel writers Matthew, Mark and Luke all mention it; Matthew says we have to become as little children, be humble like a child. Mark in chapter 10 shows that when His disciples rebuked those who brought young children to Jesus, this displeased Him; He said that we have to receive the kingdom of God like a little child. Those children must have been excited! Luke 18:17 tells the same thing.
That spaniel is, in doggy terms, childlike but no longer childish. It’s not a puppy anymore but it remains excited, full of hope for the walk it recognises so well.
I wonder if any of those children brought to Jesus grew to be young men or women who followed Him, still asking questions but more sophisticated ones, watching Jesus and starting to imitate Him, imparting to others the teachings they heard from Him in their youth.
How many wept bitterly at His passing? Were they awestruck with the realisation that it was not the end, but the beginning of something?
Not childish anymore, but still childlike.
Heavenly Father, we never lose sight of the magnificence of what Your Son did for us. In Jesus name, Amen.
Study by Andrew Montgomery
About the writer:
Andrew Montgomery is a Deacon in the Edinburgh congregation of Grace Communion International.
Gilmerton New Church
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