But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
Usually when we talk about that scripture we talk about how we must become childlike in order to enter the kingdom of God. But I think there’s another piece here. The disciples were feeling annoyed at the interruption of unpredictable and intrinsically distracting and wiggly children. Little children are not the most sober, quiet, cooperative or reasonable people to have around. (I understand that. We have about 40 of them, under the age of 4, in our sacrament meeting each Sunday and it’s hard to focus or hear sometimes, no, often.) But Jesus is saying that they, like every other distracting or difficult person who seeks God, are part of the kingdom of God. To be worthy of membership in the kingdom of God we must learn to live peaceably and charitably, and at peace with the people in the group that we are more likely to find annoying. He is telling his disciples that he is requiring that they (and we) see and love and be patient with people in our congregations who are difficult for us to spend time with due to their youth, their senility, their illness, their disabilities, their troubles or their oddities. That’s not always easy. Fortunately, as you know, Moroni pointed out that charity is a gift we can pray to receive. We can actually ask to be given the gift to respond wisely with charity towards and actually love those we find are difficult to be patient with. The gift may come slowly as we go through a learning process and may take time but it does come. It’s quite remarkable.
I certainly took our children out to listen elsewhere when they were small and squawky and remember years of not hearing much due to their wiggles and whispered interactions in the chapel. But it was worth the time spent, and it behooves me to to peacefully allow other young families the blessings we received because of those years of attendance.
So that’s what’s been on my mind today.