Matthew 18:2-4 (King James Version)
2. And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
3. And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Saturday I went to vespers at the Russian Church up the street. I invited some of my friends to come with me, who also were thinking of converting. One showed up at the end, the other got held up by his wife.
I took my oldest son with me (he's two), and during the service I silently prayed over him asking that God open his mind to Orthodox and the true church of Christ. My phone rung, with my friend calling to get directions. As we walked back into the church, there is an icon of someone (I forgot who it was) on the side wall before going into the sanctuary. I for some odd reason turned crossed and kissed it, and told him to do it, and he did. We went back into the sanctuary, and later he started playing with the service books. He did this for a while, later, he happened to open one of the service books and on the page there was a icon. He picked up the book and without prompting kissed the icon. I sat there with my jaw dropped. Later as we left the church at the end of the service, he turned and kissed the icon on the wall again, without prompting.
I had already been making the sign of the cross before dinner, and now, along with his insistence on saying grace before every meal, I must make the sign of the cross.
It's funny, but when he kissed the icon in the book and on the wall, he did it with such childlike love and tenderness, the kind of love only a unjaded child could have. And I suddenly understood in some mystical way what Jesus meant about becoming like children in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, let alone be great in it. I usually require a whole lot of book reading and explanation before I do something such as vernerating an icon, serving the poor, participating in the responses in vespers, solitary prayer at home ect...
But when I saw him venerate the icon, I just wondered how it must’ve felt to do something without tons of questions or rationalist mentality, or a theological discourse, maybe not even full understanding, or any such adult things. Just to be able to do something out of obediance and love must be the fullness of joy, even simply venerating an icon. If I can extrapolate that to serving the poor, giving, worship, veneration, loving my wife, all areas of life even, as though I were a child, then I would truly experience the kingdom of heaven on Earth.
I pray that God heal my jaded adult mind and make me like my son. Lord I believe but help my unbelief!!!
"Those who truly pray are truly theologians and true theologians are those who truly pray." Unknown