In the intro to The Shack, Mack’s friend describes Mack’s transformation AFTER visiting the shack as this . . .
“But I have to tell you that I’ve never been around another adult who lives life with such simplicity and joy. Somehow he has become a child again. Or maybe more accurately, he’s become the child he never was allowed to be; abiding in simple trust and wonder.” (249-50).
Sort of sounds like Jesus, right?
“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them! For to such as this belongs the kingdom of God.”
The kingdom of God was/is a state of being. Jesus wasn’t referring to a “place” when he spoke to the disciples and his followers, he was talking about a way of exiting through life. The kingdom of God was at hand and available to all people.
The kingdom Jesus was referring to meaning a state of perfection, unity, no anger, fear, or malice – a place of absolute love.
Before children learn to be competitive and envious of one another, there is a simplicity and love that exists among them. Also, they are so easily enthralled by the tiniest of things.
As we age, we grow more and more tainted. We learn that “he/she has something that I want” (jealousy/envy), and as we become more and more acclimated to culture, it takes more and more to impress us.
For example, when West began Wired was one of our flagship ministries. The kids coming to West were enamored with its edginess, relevance, and the “cool factor.” As we have grown as a church, we the leaders have had to strive to stay relevant.
What was “cool” to kids six years ago is “the norm” today! Remember those “felt boards” maybe you/I had in Sunday School? They would put little biblical characters up on felt and move them around and tell the story? If we were to keep doing what we did six years ago for West kids, it would be like a felt board was to you/me.
As our society grows, so does our “stuff” AND our ability to be impressed by such things lessens. (Someday smart cars that drive themselves will not be a “wow” but will be the norm.) It is called “progress” . . . but that “progress” sometimes gets in our own way. We get so wrapped up in “life” and its complexities we forget to be people of trust, simplicity, and wonder.
The Shack reminds us that to connect with The Divine, perhaps we need to “disconnect” with some of the things we cling to so dearly in our own lives.
Maybe we too can become like little children again!
For to such belongs the kingdom of God!