And a Little Child Will Lead Us

Isn’t it an awe and a wonder how the youngest among us can teach the oldest among us?

Isn’t it remarkable how a small gesture of purity committed by a small child can create a large impression on a “large” adult?

If we allow ourselves to watch and witness young—even very young—lives, we may be led to learn deep lessons.

Consider the following story, which I have condensed and adapted from the book, Spot of Grace, written and compiled by Dawna Markova.

Tyler, my six-year-old great-nephew, in unique ways, made me feel like the most important person in the world. He died suddenly a couple of years ago. Telling little vignettes about him brings him alive again for me.

When Tyler was three, during the intermission of Disney on Ice, a little boy seated behind us dropped a piece of popcorn on the floor. Tyler had his own box of popcorn. Even though he didn’t know the boy, Tyler took a piece of popcorn from his box of popcorn and gave it to the boy. I’ve always recalled this as an example of a random act of kindness.

If a couple of weeks went by when I didn’t see Tyler, he’d greet me with, “It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you. I missed you! I waited and waited and waited.” Whenever I would arrive at Tyler’s home, he would immediately take my hand, pull me to the floor with him, and ask, “So, what’s happening?”

Tyler had an uncanny way of remembering what was going on in people’s lives. About eight months after I had shoulder surgery—long after others had stopped asking—he asked me one day, “Does your shoulder still hurt?”

Filling out a poster about himself in first grade, he completed the sentence, “I wish for…” with “everyone in the world to just get along.”

Shortly before what turned out to be his final Christmas, he told his mom and dad, “I don’t want lots of presents this year. I want to get presents and food for the kids who don’t have lots of things. I really don’t need any more things.”

Tyler was truly the most giving, compassionate, sensitive child I’ve ever known. Each time I said “Good-bye” to him, I left convinced of my worth and wanting to do that for others.

* * * *

In Chapter 11 of the Old Testament book of Isaiah is this oft-quoted verse:

The wolf shall live with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
(Isaiah 11:6; emphasis added)

Indeed, we may be led to live more lovingly if we open our hearts, our minds and our spirits to pure acts of goodness and kindness done by a little child.

This month, on Sunday morning, July 21, we celebrate “Christmas in July.” That Sunday we honor—again–the birth of an infant who grew into a child who grew into Jesus of Nazareth…who leads us to live lives of faith, hope and love.

That Sunday, may you join in worship with the family of faith at The United Church of Warsaw. May you open yourself to the ways of The Child who leads others to live with goodness and kindness. Five months before December 25, the calendared day of Christmas, may you share in the Christmas spirit of goodness and kindness in the sanctuary of The United Church.

Throughout the months of summer, may you be more aware of the ways of young children. May you notice the pure acts of goodness and simple acts of kindness shown by young children.

And may a little child lead you…in how to live more lovingly.

Beside you in the journey of faith,
Rev. Barbara