TOBI BENTON

To Become a Child

To Become a Child

To Become a Child

If we were fortunate to begin in the cocoon of human love,

If ours was a beginning in security, safety, and peace,

We experienced a glimpse of Eden. 

We have memory returning points, little anchors fastening us to a living path, because tragedy and suffering has become our common exile landscape and we fear we might be lost.

We are a forgetful people. Forgetful, yet not forgotten.

God finds us, time and again, and blesses us as the poor, the meek, the hungry. We, who are constantly acting out.

We are all aliens, orphans, and widows.

Somewhere in the journey, if we hear God’s accompanying song, we find a low humming sound building from the darkness of our throats.

We explore our voice, listening to its sound falling on our ears.

We react or respond to its impact on others.

If we grow brave, we part our lips. We risk sending sound out into the Everything.

If we allow delight, if we choose to trust, we learn to match God’s song in harmony. Like anything beautiful, we must learn this. Practice it.

And if we for a moment release our protective posture, allowing ourselves to be lifted on these chords of love, we find our voices unrestrained, a full-throated chorus joined with the multitudes. All Glory! and Honor! and Praise! 

Rejoice!

For look! We are no longer orphans. Over our shoulders, gazing back along the line of journey we began, we strain to see our beginning point. The place where a pile of rags thrown off to the side of the road marks our encounter with God. The very place God dressed us as his child and whispered the first notes of ballad in our ears.

We are all orphans learning how to be children of God.

We are people who may have seen and responded to the salvation of the Lord, but our identities and self-awareness retain an orphan spirit.

For many of us it is enough and all we can see, to be promised entry into the Kingdom with the hope of promised peace behind its walls. Satisfied, not as sons and daughters, but as servants beneath a kind and provisional Master.

For many of us it is enough and all we want, to be promised riches our earthly story has denied us. Ours, a purchased entry to comfort and status, by a King who counts our poor hearts turned toward him as treasure.

For many of us it is enough and all we could hope, to sit as spectators of justice, as the wicked are judged and punished. We want our season passes to the great Colosseum, to cheer as lions tear apart our enemies. 

But for the Church, filled with all these people, we are called to God’s way.

He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?  Micah 6:8

As Christians we are called to see the orphan, the widow, and the alien in everyone. We are a people who are to know God. To know his purposes for mankind and his ways of rescuing the wayward and weary. Do not boast in wisdom, nor in might, nor wealth. Boast in understanding God, the Father who acts with steadfast love, with justice, and with righteousness. 

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