And lo, one day some parents did bring their little children to Jesus so he could bless them, but the disciples did chide them and tell them not to bother Jesus with such trifling things. But Jesus did hold up a hand to stoppeth his disciples from stopping the children. And lo, Jesus did call for the children and say to the disciples, ‘Oi! Stop that! Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you, anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God.’ So the disciples did change their tune and did hurry the children with huffs and sighs and with much tongue clicking, towards Jesus. The disciples did watch and did take note of the excitement in the little children as they laughed and bantered with Jesus in their own unique way.
Then Peter did spot a little boy who had not been brought over so he did hurl himself towards the child. And lo, the boy did look up, sore afraid. ‘Come on,’ said Peter grabbing him by the arm, ‘you want to meet Jesus.’ ‘What?’ ‘Jesus, he’s over there.’ ‘I know.’ ‘Well you want to meet him.’ ‘But I’m playing football.’ ‘Oh no you’re not, you want to meet Jesus. And your mate there, standing between those two jumpers.’ ‘But he’s in goal.’ ‘No he’s not.’ ‘He is!’ instisteth the little boy. ‘I am!’ insisteth his friend. ‘You can’t be, now come on, come on, we haven’t got all day… and you! Yes you!’ Peter did jab his finger at a little girl who was drawing an elaborate picture in the dust with her finger. ‘You want to come too,’ said Peter. ‘But I’m busy.’ ‘No. You’re desperate to meet Jesus I can see it in your eyes. And your little sister there too. That’s it, the one studying that beetle there. No time for that, up you come. Important things to do.’
And so the big fisherman did grabbeth the small children in his huge arms and did bundle them kicking and complaining towards the crowd of children around Jesus. And Jesus did look up, perplexed and said, ‘Peter, what on earth are you doing?’ ‘Bringing you a load more.’ ‘A load more what? Peter stop abducting children.’ ‘But they want to see you. I thought you said…’ And lo, Jesus did put a hand on Peter’s shoulder, and Jesus did gently lift the children out of his huge grasp, smile at them and let them run back to their games. And Jesus did say to his friend Peter, ‘Don’t force them! And don’t keep them away if they want to come. These children here are full of the life of the kingdom. But so are these busy doing other things. Don’t you see? Their zest for life, their joy, their creativity, their curiosity and freedom. Don’t restrict that. Celebrate it, my friend. Don’t hem them in.’ And lo, Peter did scratch his head, and wonder about these things. As so many of us have done ever since.
Luke 18 v 15-17 Based on an observation by Adrian Plass in his book The Unlocking