Childish Ways

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly,* but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Cor 13:11-12

Is being “childish a bad thing? What is St. Paul talking about? Hmmmm, maybe if we combine his words with Jesus’ words, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 18:3, we can begin to understand.

Jesus seems to be saying that we must be like a child to have access to his kingdom. Perhaps Paul is saying that when we put an end to childish ways, we get it wrong. We think we have everything figured out. We study; we try to identify what we think are the answers and we label things as right and wrong. But in our “knowledge”, we miss Jesus. We find it difficult to live in the tension of the not knowing – in the mystery. We need to access our childish wonder and willingness to accept that we don’t know all the answers.

This weekend, eight young people at a key transition point in their lives, will stand before their families, friends, the congregation and one another to confirm their faith. Faith in the 3 in 1 God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They will promise to make time for God, stay in Christian community and serve the world to share the Good News of Christ. They will promise to try to live with love. Through this key Rite of Passage, it seems as if we are helping them to put behind their childish ways and become adults.

In fact, it’s a pretty big time in their lives: these young people will begin high school in a couple months. They will practice being independent, making decisions and learning new skills. They will begin the process of becoming adults in our society. But truly, they will need their parents and the family of God (us) to support them, pray for them, encourage them, respect them and give them permission to continue in “childish ways.”

My prayer for them is that they may continue the journey of faith with us, that we may all heed Jesus’ words to be like children and practice loving and living together. May they come to understand that they are known by a God who loves them because God is good, not because they are good. May they know in their hearts that there is nothing they can do to make God love them less. May they know the wonder and joy of being siblings with a Brother-Savior through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Peace, joy and blessings,

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