From: Charles Glenn
Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. Psalm 8.1-2
Our readings today include the great scene when Nicodemus came to visit Jesus by night, and I hope you will reread and reflect on that, but I want to focus instead on trying to understand a line that has always puzzled me: “Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies.” What could that possibly mean?
It reminds us of Jesus saying, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children” (Mt 11.25). And later, ““Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 18.3-4). And then, ““Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Mt 19.14). But most relevant of all, when (as we will remember in a few weeks) he entered Jerusalem on the way to the Cross, Jesus quotes our psalm in refuting his opponents:
When the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?” (Mt 21.15-6).
We can, I think, take from these passages the need for us to pay attention to children–and we are richly blessed with them at Church of the Cross!–and to others whose wisdom we could easily overlook because of their situation in life.
As Paul wrote to the Church in Corinth, “God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him” (I Corinthians 1.27-9).
God may speak to you today through a child, or a chance encounter, or a person of diminished mental capacity. The apostles Peter and John Peter and John “were unschooled, ordinary men” but it was recognized that they “had been with Jesus” (Acts 4.13). Pay attention to what God may be saying to you today!
Mary and I will welcome two more grandchildren in the next few weeks.