I have a lot of visitors in my office. Some are pastors sharing about their ministry, asking for guidance and for prayer. Some are laypersons who are concerned about their church. Many are conference staff or committee members sharing about their work. Some are DSes coming to talk with me about their districts or about appointments of pastors. Many “civic” leaders come to see me, sometimes about one of our universities or about some social issue or public cause. I have lots of visitors in my office every day that I am here.
Today I had a very special visitor: my 3-month old granddaughter Leah came to see me and to meet the staff here at the conference center.
Actually my wife Marsha brought Leah, and the three of us had lunch downstairs in the little deli called Lulu’s. So I was able to note on my calendar “lunch with Leah at Lulu’s.”
Of course, Leah charmed everyone, and then cried a bit as she waited for me to feed her. Marsha took a photo of me feeding Leah her bottle in my office, and several of the staff made funny comments about how the bishop often has to deal with “babies” who cry and need some nurture.
Having Leah here transformed my office and the conference center.
Everyone was smiling, cooing, and delighted to have a baby present.
How wonderful it is to have little ones to remind us about the joy of life. What a great interruption to the usual business of our work and ministry!
I suspect that Jesus felt that same way just before this week that we call Holy Week. All the Gospels tell the story that just before Jesus made his way to Jerusalem for the last week of his life, he was willingly interrupted by children. In fact, Jesus was indignant when his own disciples did not allow children to come near to him. Jesus interrupted his journey to Jerusalem to hold and hug the children, and he even used that as a teaching moment to say, “Let the children come to me, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).
Can you imagine what a nice interruption that was for Jesus, on the way to his own death on the Cross?
As we move through this Holy Week, perhaps it is good to be interrupted. Holy Week can be “heavy” and it deals with serious issues which must not be overlooked. Our own ministry can seem very important and serious, too, at times. And we can even take ourselves too seriously.
If Jesus was willing to interrupt his journey to Jerusalem and the Cross to take time for children, what does that teach us about our own priorities? What does it say to us about the importance of the teaching ministries of our churches? What can we learn about receiving the Good News of the kingdom of God with childlike trust?
I don’t know all the answers, but I know that I was blessed by my special visitor today.
from Bishop Michael J. Coyner
Indiana Area of The United Methodist Church
"Making a difference in Indiana and around the world."