I sometimes find myself thinking about the types of people Jesus approached, or at least in the stories I recognize from the Gospel. I think about how the marginalized probably had less hesitance towards Christ’s ministry, versus someone in a place of power or authority. I can only speak from experience, but I find that it is much easier to take up your mat and follow Jesus when you didn’t really like where your mat was in the first place. But today, I am inspired by what I like to call, “The Zombie Walk of the Coffee Cake Children.”
Sitting in a popular, family friendly coffee shop, I have positioned myself in a tiny nook by the door, resting upon one of four leather chairs. Slowly but surely, strangers pile in to read a book before work or grab a quick snack to start the day. But as late morning approaches, I find myself enclosed by a Mommy Meet Up and their two incredible kids. I wear headphones as a disguise, somewhat unintentionally, but appreciative that it frees me up to hone in on conversations without much suspect of the neighboring customers.
To an extent these children are reckless, but entertaining to say the least. The cold, burgundy linoleum becomes the new mulch for their imaginary playground. Chairs turn into mountains, and tables into miniature jungle gyms. At one point, a stranger must leave her seat to unleash the grasp that the front door monster has on the shoe of the younger boy. And then, much to my delight, the fourth wall is broken. Like a staggering zombie, with the mouth foam of a typical gargle replaced by the icing of a poorly consumed coffee cake, a three year old girl walks to my chair and begins chanting and dancing. “Raarr rarr ra ra ra!”
I have to laugh, and like clockwork, the younger boy follows suit and comes hungry for the same attention. My concentration is shattered. My focus appears to have never existed at all. And for a moment, I find myself envious. I want to put away my computer and laugh. I wish I had smeared icing on my face. It is starting to look less like an accident, and more like an expression of freedom. “Why not? This icing is my joy” the young girl is telling herself.
In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” I can’t suggest that smeared sugar or dinosaur growls will guarantee a stronger relationship with Christ, but as we enter a season of prayer and audacious hope at Imago Dei Community, I am renewed through the eyes of these children. They see adventure in the day to day, and opportunity in every new face willing to look and listen.
I think about my times with Scripture, and the expectations I have when I turn to the Word. Do I seek opportunity? Do I look for adventure? Is this coffee shop simply a place to imbibe hot liquids, or can it be more than the routine and scenery that we treat as the boring the background of our busy lives. Could I do the same in my time with God? Could I be inspired to know Him more? To pray expectantly, and with the staggering, yet fixated stride, of my three year old zombie friend.