Eyes like Theirs
18th Sunday after Pentecost
Let the little children come to me – Mark 10:14
Beth gave birth to her son at four in the afternoon. Because of some initial breathing troubles, the baby was whisked away to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) while Beth was wheeled to the recovery area. It wasn’t until three in the morning that the baby was able to leave the ICU. The nurse brought him to Beth, placed him in her arms and left them alone.
The city was still dark that early summer morning. There was quiet outside her window except for a trickle of traffic and the sound of hospital employees coming and going with the change of shifts. Just another day beginning.
But Beth knew nothing was ordinary about this day. She smiled at her son, held him close and whispered a thousand promises to him. He looked up at her with sleepy eyes, seeming to rest on every one of her promises.
Time spent with children teaches us the unwieldy truth that everything we do and say is being observed very carefully. They look to us for the answers about how things work, what is right and wrong, how to speak and how to love. Whether we deserve it or not, they believe in us passionately, unflinchingly.
Jesus’ holy heart melted as he looked into the innocent, trusting eyes of the children around him. He loved them, well-behaved or not – we can tell because he told us that how we welcome children shows how we welcome God’s own self (Mark 9:37).
He was fiercely protective of them – we can tell because he warned us that it would be better to be violently drowned than to knowingly interfere with a child’s belief (Mark 9:42).
He knew children have great lessons of faith to teach us – we can tell because as he gathered those children into his arms, he said that he longed for all of us to look at him with eyes like theirs.