The grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ, be with you all.
We have come to live in a fast paced world, driven forward by our scientific and technological discoveries and advancements. Our daily lives are filled with emails and texts. Where once we would return home to check our answering machine messages, our telephone calls can now follow us wherever we go. So too the news, as we are bombarded at nearly every turn- “breaking news- this just in!” We are “in the loop” twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
While it is fascinating, it can also be very overwhelming. Coming to understand what I know and knowing what I don’t understand. Most of these being the very concept of all these technical developments. I had a problem with my personal computer, it took my youngest nephew to fix the problem for me. This drove home a point to me. Many of our youth today cannot recall a time when we did not have these technological advancements. These aforementioned things are commonplace for them.
I can recall my summers spent outside in the backyard playing in the dirt with Matchbox cars. This has been replaced with time inside the den playing with an X-Box. Bicycle rides and softball games, have been replaced by “surfing the net” and competing with others in online video games or wii. As we are exposed to horrific news of child predators, gang violence and global atrocities; so to are our youth. I pause to wonder- with all these advacements and media intrusion, at what age is the innocence of childhood lost?
Our quest for knowledge- for news, for advancements, for change; have played a part in stealing our childhood innocence. The world, with its harsh realities, have forced our youth to grow up to quickly. Even now as a spiritual adult, friends question me with regards to scientific explanations of heaven and matters of faith.
Christ tells us, “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a child, will never enter into it.” (Luke 18:17) While some may say this passage encourages us to introduce children to Christ, I believe Christ reminds us not to loose our childhood innocence. For it may be, only through the eyes of child like wonder can we truly appreciate Christ and His creation.
While many adults will question and challenge with analytical vigor, anything they cannot see or put their hands on, we must be reminded that matters of faith are truly that- matters of faith. This is the faith- the wonder, the innocence, that each and every child has.
During the early 1970s while in high school, I belonged to a national organization known as “Up With People”. It was a musical movement that sought to get youth involved in changing world problems. While national casts played before Presidents in concerts, on television shows and even a Super Bowl halftime appearance; our “local casts” sung at fairs, school auditoriums and nursing homes.
One of my most favorite songs we sang was called “Children”, written by Frank Fields of the National Up With People in 1968. The lyrics of that song, are poignant to my subject:
“Children know of little else, but how to need our love. They’re the closet thing I know to angels up above. Feeling much the same love for everyone they meet, aren’t they really better off with knowledge incomplete?
“The children laugh when the sun comes up in the morning, loving life everyday. They cannot hide what they feel or what they’re needing- what if we were all that way? Yes Lord, what if we were all that way?”
Almighty and most merciful God. Help us to retain our childhood innocenc. Help us to see the world through the eyes of a child with wonder and joy, and not eyes blurred by the cynicism and mistrust of age. Give to us the ability to find in all people, in all things, in all circumstances- that beauty, trust and love we saw there as a child. But caution us, merciful God, not to venture to far- so that our adult eyes may become blind with ignorance to the suffering of others. We ask this humbly, in the name of our Savior and our salvation- Jesus Christ. Amen.