My 4 Year Old Is Wise
During communion yesterday morning our four-year old leaned over and quietly asked, "Mommy, who is that up there?" I thought he was asking about the man leading the church in communion, but it turned out he was curious about the picture of Jesus on the projection screen. It was from a unique perspective and a different image than he'd seen before. He whispered, "I think it's Jesus on the cross. Is that right?" "Yes," I replied.
And then he asked a question that was a bit more difficult for me to answer in that moment. Not because the answer is all that complicated, it's just a sad thing to tell your four-year-old. "Mommy, how did he stay up there hanging like that?" As quietly as I could, I went on to tell him that they had hammered nails through his hands and his feet to hold him up on the cross.
Of course, he had heard this before, but he looked at me with a perplexed look and wondered, "Who did that to him?" Once again I tried to keep my explanation in hushed tones to keep from disturbing others and said, "Mean men...Roman soldiers."
With a sound of disgust, his face turned from curious to a flash of righteous anger. Without thinking much I just responded, "He died on the cross for YOU," pointing to him as I said it. His thought-filled facial reaction made me momentarily question my response. He looked struck down by this news. I could see that he was taking this personally. For a moment I thought I had given him more than he could handle.
Then he asked sadly, "Why did he do that?" I just smiled and shared, "So that one day you can live in heaven forever with him and God." He gasped a little bit. Then a huge smile crept across his face, and he let out a tiny sigh as he sank back against me in my lap. After a second or two he turned and softly wrapped his arms around my shoulders, smiled with genuine joy, and gently whispered in my ear, "Thank you for telling me that!"
Prayer: Dear Lord, Thank you for the simple faith of our children. In a world of cynicism, please help us grown-ups keep a child-like faith. Most of all, thank you for letting us know you through your word and the life of your son Jesus. In Jesus name, Amen