Films and musicals of ‘Oliver Twist’ tend to glamourise the predicament of Oliver. In his book, Dickens writes in brutal detail of the desperation of boys like him. He was 9 and his life was utterly barbaric. He was in the workhouse, maltreated at every turn, powerless, hungry to the core and yet in a spine chilling moment he has the audacity to enquire:
"Please, Sir, I want some more”
Everyone freezes; we are told "the master gazed in stupefied astonishment, the assistants were paralysed with wonder; the boys with fear…"
In today's reading we don't know who the children were who were about Jesus that day - were they poor, were they sick, were they orphans, were they happy, nervous, shy, did they even want to be there or had their parents dragged them along, had they heard about Jesus, were they scared? We don't hear them speak, but we do know that the disciples were keen to keep them away from Jesus and were affronted by the audacity of the people bringing the children near him. I can't help but imagine that the disciples gazed on in stupefied astonishment when they heard Jesus' anger and rebuke for not letting the children through to him!
I give you thanks for the people in today's Bible story who believed that it was important to bring the children to Jesus despite getting an earful from the disciples for doing so.
Help me to have courage and to take bold risks in bringing myself and others confidently into your presence in order to be blessed by you.
Let nothing prevent me from entering into your holy presence - approaching humbly and with childlikeness, yet with determination and trusting in your amazing love for me.
13 Some people brought children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples scolded the people. 14 When Jesus noticed this, he was angry and said to his disciples, “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them, because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 I assure you that whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” 16 Then he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on each of them, and blessed them.