It’s Sunday morning, bright and early. I’m excited to be here, in Portland, Oregon, to meet my wonderful new granddaughter and spend time with her big brother.
Sam is not yet two and a half. He’s utterly adorable, and utterly sweet. I didn’t realize quite how sweet he really is until I got to spend seven precious days with him.
We arrive at church and jump out of the car. It’s cold and rainy in Portland this morning. We pull our coats up around our ears, put our heads down and get ready to scurry inside.
But Sam has seen something. He pulls on my hand, makes a squealing sound and points upward. He can’t quite say airplane yet, but I’m pretty sure that’s what he’s noticed.
We all turn to gaze upwards. But it’s not a big airplane. It’s a tiny red balloon, floating far, far away, being carried on the wind through Portland’s cloudy skies. It’s only there for a moment, and then it’s gone.
Wow Sam! We say. Good job! You saw a balloon!
And that’s it. That’s my little story. Except I think there’s so much more to it than that. I’ve thought a lot about that tiny red balloon since my little grandson saw it. And I got to thinking:
Why did he see that balloon?
How did he see that balloon?
He was the smallest person there. My husband is over six feet tall, my sons are taller still. But Sam is only two feet tall. You could argue that us grown ups were closer to the balloon, and therefore, shouldn’t we have been the ones to see it?
But we didn’t. Sam did.
And the only possible explanation, the only possible reason, is that he was the one looking up. And why would he be doing that, if he wasn’t expecting to see something… something surprising, and wonderful?
And that makes me think about God too.
We grown ups, we think we’re the ones closer to God. We think we’re the ones who know more, who read the Bible, who know how to pray, who study the scriptures.
But maybe, just maybe, our children are closer to God….because they are the ones looking up, the ones expecting to see God, the ones knowing that God will show up in surprising and wonderful ways.
Like little Sam, who looked up one Sunday morning and saw that tiny red balloon, as it floated across Portland’s cloudy skies and far, far away.
Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. Matthew 18:4