Recently my eldest son and daughter were stood in the middle of the kitchen engaging in imaginative role play.
Being good clergy kids my son was basing it on the poem of Beginnings found in the book of Genesis. You may
know the story, it has a piece of fruit, a crafty snake, and two humans in their birthday suits.

Him: (confidently) Let’s play the Garden of Eden. I’ll be Adam and you can be Eve.
Her: (deadpan) I don’t want to be Eve.
Him: (enthusiastically) Okay, you can be the snake!
Her: (deadpan) I don’t want to be the snake.
Him: (frustrated) Well, who do you want to be then?
Her: (triumphantly) I’ll be God!
Him: (dejectedly) Let’s play something else.

Story used with permission of children concerned.

I loved overhearing their banter. My daughter refused to be boxed in. How often do we see ‘our’ children as representing God to us? The special biography of Jesus edited by Matthew, Chapter 18 contains a debate
amongst Jesus’s friends as to who has the highest status:

At about the same time, the disciples came to Jesus asking, “Who gets the highest rank in God’s kingdom?” For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and
for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in
God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.”

If we want to learn how to love and be transformed by God can we start by tuning into the little people in our lives? Whether they be our grandchildren, nieces, or young ones in our classrooms. They could be neighbours
kids, or cousins at family gatherings. Can we listen for long enough to hear love whisper through their play, respect their cries for fairness, and imitate their empathy for others? Might we discover Christ was in the room with snotty nose, a grazed knee, and a cheeky smile?

This August find a child to escort you to the range of Teddington 800 activities. You may feel the warmth of God’s comfort through the little hand that holds yours.

Azariah France-Willliams, Associate Priest