Ah…so, you have come; come to see the old shepherd. Perhaps you have heard the rumors of the old shepherd that lives in these hills; a strange old man with strange ideas. So, you have come to see for yourselves. Well…here I am. As to charge of being strange, I plead guilty. You have heard, no doubt, I claim to have seen angels. It was some thirty odd years ago, but it is true. You have, no doubt, also heard that I claim to have seen the Savior of the world as a baby. To that charge I also plead guilty. But I tell you, because of that baby and those angels I have become more than a shepherd.
I am also a weaver of tales. Not just any tales; they are tales of the kingdom. And not just any kingdom; it is a kingdom of children. I am mad you say. What kingdom except one of fantasy could be a kingdom of children? I will tell you...It is the kingdom of God!
Ah…you have trouble with that. Blasphemy, you say…maybe; but there is a rabbi named Jesus teaching nearby who has taught this very thing. It is true. He said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of Heaven.” Such a strange notion spoken so boldly and with such authority is either profound truth or complete lunacy. I have watched and listened to this rabbi long enough to know he is not crazy.
But you do not learn these truths by conferring with the elders at the city gates. If you want to learn what it is like to be a shepherd you do not sit with priests. If you want to know what it is like to be a fisherman you do not sit with scribes. So, if you want to know what it is like to be a child, you must sit with the children. You must work with them, play with them, learn with them and so learn from them; for the rabbi Jesus also said, “Whoever welcomes a little one in my name welcomes me.”
So, that is what I have been teaching the people of my village. And that is what we have been doing in the hills and in the marketplace. I weave tales of the kingdom for them, others welcome them into their shops as apprentices, and others welcome them into their homes and daily lives and so all learn; the children from their elders and the elders from the children. And in this blessed exchange we perhaps fulfill the intent of the teachings of this prophet/rabbi Jesus.
Perhaps, now that you have seen me and heard my words I do not seem so strange to you. Perhaps, in your heart a hope is growing. You are perhaps wondering if these things could be true. Perhaps you are wondering if you can learn about God by serving the children. Perhaps you are hoping that is the road to the joy you have longed for. And perhaps you are beginning to believe that this Jesus may be right; to enter the kingdom of heaven one must become like a little child. For myself, there is no doubt. For whenever I hear the rabbi Jesus speak, I feel the same as I did some thirty years ago when I looked into the eyes of that baby:
“Let the children come, and do not hinder them
For the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”