Episodes from LAX:
A tall blonde woman waiting in line for her boarding pass is holding a child a few shades darker than she with black hair and deep-set eyes. An Asian couple approaches the baby and starts cooing at him in Korean. The woman responds, “I’m sorry, he isn’t Korean, he is a Mexican like me.” All the time the child has been babbling enthusiastically in response.
At security, two parents were embarrassed over holding up their line with all their truck — the strollers, the diaper bag, the toys. Their son (who looked like he had probably just learned to walk) tried to pick up his own stroller and put it into the machine. Since he wasn’t strong enough, it kept banging against the tiled floor. After Dad took that away, he kept loading empty bins onto the conveyor belt. Mom reprimanded him each time before pulling him toward the metal detector.
At baggage claim, a tiny Ninja Turtle toy fell out of a big bag as it was picked up by a member of a big group. The leader of the group asked if everyone had collected all their things. A little boy started screaming, “No!” then whimpering wordlessly as the group moved on, longing for the lost toy as insistently and obstinately as the good shepherd longed for his lamb.
The man who spoke in parables said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” Thank God he didn’t add an interpretive frame — foolish adults did that. But if we look at the world the way he told us to look, we can see that the world children see is real and present and full of love, and the one we see is the inauthentic compromise. The Kingdom of Heaven is not a metaphor or a moral lesson or a millenial promise. It is here, now, and it is theirs.