The Gospel According to the Tiny Humans
April 26, 2019
I had a second-grader in my arms, a kindergartner sitting on my foot, a first-grader holding my hand, and a fourth-grader talking my ear off about her softball game. I was in heaven as I carefully took in the details about her game winning hit and how funny it was to watch her coach freak out over a game they thought they for sure would lose. Other church members walked by and commented on how full my hands were, but I just laughed. There was no part of me that wished the Tiny Humans had been latched onto someone else. About that time, two fifth graders came running up to me and demanded answers for one of life's most pressing questions when you're 10 years old.
"Ms. Laura, Ms. Laura, MS. LAURA! Is heaven like the unicorn world behind the rainbows??" one of them asked excitedly. Before I could collect my thoughts and try to form an answer, the second-grader I was holding piped up and answered for me,
"I think it is, because everyone is happy there and everyone is happy in Heaven, so it must. Jesus is probably a unicorn." satisfied, the fifth-graders walked away and left me trying to decide if I needed to explain that Jesus isn't a unicorn or just roll with it. She was right. Heaven is a place where everyone is happy, and unicorns in my understanding are rare and beautiful creatures that spread love and joy. So I decided that aside from the horn and the tail, the kid may have been onto something.
This wasn't the first, nor was this the last time those Tiny Humans I'm supposed to be teaching have made me look at the Gospels a different way. When adults are being particularly finicky and rude, the little ones will often say things about loving our neighbors that everyone needs to hear. I've heard them compare Jesus to Captain America, President Obama, their moms and dads, and Ellen Degeneres. I've attempted to answer questions about why bad things happen to good people and been continually surprised by their thoughts on tough subjects. To one of my Tiny Human friends, God lets bad things happen to good people so that good people can help bad people get through it and be better.
When they pray they talk to God like they are talking to their best friend. They thank Him for the good things more than they ask Him to make things better. This includes houses with roofs, the Statue of Liberty, and pigs. Sometimes they add in their own commentary when they're reading from the Bible; and while yes, I have had to steer conversations away from Octo-Mans Floppy Arm more than once, often the off-hand comments they make when no one is asking for an answer are the most thought-provoking.
There have been nights that I have layed awake mulling over things the Tiny Humans have said to me. Sometimes it's weeks later when they repeat something you've said to them when you thought they weren't listening in their own little way that I realize just how right these kids have it when it comes to the message of the Gospels. One of them will ask what to do in a situation and another will say without missing a beat "Jesus would flip tables and make it better." It's that second part a lot of us forget, but the Tiny Humans? They make a lot of things better.
While I'm relatively sure Jesus isn't a unicorn, and we still have a long way to go on our understanding of the logistics of communion (READ: some of us are still working on differentiations between canabalism and the Lord's Supper), there is a special connection between the Tiny Humans and doing justice, loving kindness, and walking humbly. They may be little and they may be young, but they have big hearts that are made for the kind of ministry Jesus set out for us. I'm not a theologian or a preacher, but I have a feeling that if we had a Gospel according to the Tiny Humans, it would look a lot like the beautiful chaos Jesus stirred up during his ministry.