E-Letter 181

Posted by on Sep 11, 2014 in Devotions | 0 comments

I spy him standing perplexed in front of the chipped, sweat-stained, concrete statue of Jesus the Good Shepherd cradling a sleeping (or injured?) lamb in his arms. “Who is this, Grandma?” he asks as he tenderly strokes the lamb’s nappy head, caressing the frozen-for-all-time curls reverently like the beads of a rosary. “Jesus,” I answer as I do a mental shuffle anticipating his next question. ”Who is he supposed to be,” he wonders out loud, “a farmer or a doctor who takes care of animals?” I clear my throat. “Yes,” I tell him, and he looks at me quizzically. “Well, which one is he?” he presses as he searches my face for the clarity craved by all five year old theologians. “Both,” I respond.  “Jesus is a farmer who whispers sweet words in the little lamb’s ears and makes him feel better.” My grandson scuffs the pinestraw covering the feet of Jesus as he considers my answer. “It can’t be Jesus,” he announces with authority. “Jesus is dead, and Miss Patty told us that he comed back to life, but, Grandma, this Jesus is dead.” I have now slipped down the Alice-in-Wonderland rabbit hole of  the “curiouser and curiouser” world of the child who believes that he can revive with a simple push of a button on his Nintendo, his beloved Super Mario and sidekick Luigi after star-spangled, skull-crushing car crashes into brick walls but who cannot wrap his head around what God can do with a not-so-simple push of the buttons of our lives. How to explain this dead-and-now-alive stuff to a child who walks between so many worlds, real and unreal? There are how many doctrines of resurrection and atonement? And which one can he comprehend, I wonder?  “I know it’s hard to understand that Jesus died and and is now alive…” I say in a voice that tapers off into silence. A pair of crystal blue eyes suddenly fill with preternatural understanding and a small hand pats my dangling arm. “It’s okay, Grandma, it’s okay.” I sigh, grateful for this small display of grace. Then he leans over Jesus’ concrete head, closes his eyes and tenderly pats the lamb, “Don’t worry little lamb.  Jesus won’t drop you.” Resurrection through the eyes of a child.