A red blur interrupted my peripheral peace. I kept my face in my book. (Alright, not my book. I kept my face glued to the screen of my iPhone as I played Tiny Wings. But let’s pretend it was actually a book; a book with words like tolutiloquent). The red blur interrupted my periphery again with the silence of a hobbit and the speed of a mongoose. Then it was on me. A mask wearing, nylon clad pygmy superhero was pummeling the back of my hands that were covering my face. I was a super-villain and I didn’t even know it. (That’s the worst, right? At least the Joker and Lex Luthor knew that it was coming.) Here this whole time I thought I was a good husband, loving dad, and grateful pastor and it turns out I was actually the arch enemy of Mini Flash. How did this happen? Was this the end?
Then in a
moment of clarity I grabbed the closest thing I could find and swung as hard as
I could. That pillow must have had some magical
powers because Mini Flash flew off the side of my bed and like a hobbited cat
with no legs, landed softly on his face.
Then, in a rare moment of cowardice and unchecked emotion for a super
hero, Mini Flash ran away in the blur that brought him crying for his
mother. Turns out I’m an awesome super-villain.
What is that
thing in a kid that gets transformed by the costume? When an adult puts on a costume one of a few
things is going on.
going to a party with a lot of booze- I mean a lot of booze.
It’s Halloween and they are in that odd 7% of
adults who really get into Halloween- booze or not.
A Trekkie convention, Comic Con, or some other
themed gathering of gifted kids and home schoolers.
And then there’s, you know, couples costumes.
But at no
point do these adults actually think they possess super powers or Klingon DNA. It’s a costume. However, in a child an existential
shift occurs when the spandex, mask, and cape go on. This existential transformation even has
metaphysical implications. All things
being equal but the costume, I’ll bet dollars to donuts that my Mini Flash son
beats his non super self in a foot race.
I can see it now… It’s a Usainian
moment as Mini Flash’s arms spread out looking left and right cruising the
final 20 meters in a victory over himself sans the flash mask. (All kidding aside, I’m going to test this
when I get home. No, not by cloning my
son. By using a stopwatch, you goof ball. I’ll post results).
I think that’s
kind of what Jesus was getting at when he said, “Let the little children come
to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these…
anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never
enter it.” Children believe. And their belief has wings on it. And belief with wings on it is what the Bible
One of the
great pictures of the gospel comes from Jesus’ story of the prodigal. You know this story. Kid number two asks for a share of the
inheritance. He goes splitsville to an
ancient Mediterranean version of Vegas.
What happens there stays there including the money. He’s destitute and ashamed. He heads home simply wanting to be a slave in
his dad’s house while working on a great contrition speech. His dad sees him, runs and hugs him, and
doesn’t even let him finish the speech.
Without hesitation the dad tells a servant to bring a new robe, sandals,
and the family signet ring. And they set
toward the house for a party in the kid’s honor. Wait, what?
the gospel in a nut shell. We’re selfish
and messed up. God loves us anyway. And he puts Jesus’ own robe, sandals, and
signet ring on us and says I’m throwing a party for you. We have been clothed with the righteousness
of Christ. We have been credited with
his obedience by the grace of the Father.
Christians simply don’t believe that. I
look at my son and I see a funny little kid in a spandex outfit that thinks he’s
Flash. He looks at himself and thinks, “Dude,
I’m a super hero.” And Jesus looks at me
and says, “If you want to truly know me, you need a little more of what Flash
over there has. He gets it.”
Galatians 3:27 says, “You are all sons of God through
faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have
clothed yourselves with Christ.” The
truth is, if I actually believed that, I’d run a little bit faster.