I have found the website The Daily Office: A Congregation Without Walls very helpful. The Mission St. Clare is also great, with the readings and remembrances for the feasts. So, we have two great tools for our Daily Office prayer. Take advantage of them!
This morning’s Daily Office reading is Matthew 18:1-14 (NRSV). This portion of the text has always hooked me:
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
I love the image of a child being the icon for our practice of faith. It’s a challenging one, to be sure, to have a child as the epitome of our relationship with God.
We live in such an age of success and accomplishment. I don’t think it is particularly “worse” than in years past; but maybe it seems more prevalent. Turn on the TV, and there is such an expectation to make something of yourself, to be successful, etc. Competition becomes the norm; greed becomes assumed.
And, then, here is Jesus, being asked what it takes to get into heaven. I can imagine folks in our age resonating with this text in terms of seeing heaven as another accomplishment. In terms of being successful getting into heaven, even.
But Jesus challenges all these expectations when he takes this small child and “whom he put among them,” challenging them to “change and become like children.” What? How? How to change and become like this child? I always think of the innocence of children….their trusting nature…. But above all that I think of their ability to live life in the moment. My daughter loses track of time. She doesn’t feel the pressure of time within herself. And, that allows her to……be…..
Jesus challenges us to “change and become like children.” It is a powerful challenge….one that I think hits at the core of our hyper-individualistic and ego-oriented world.