The crowds are large. Jesus is busy with Kingdom work. He’s talking to people. He’s having yet another “let’s out-teach-the-teacher” session with the Pharisees; this time they’re trying to trip him up on divorce. And then some people bring small children to him for him to lay his hands on them, to give them his blessing. His disciples admonish the adults bringing the children. And then he admonishes his disciples.
“Let the little children come to me,” he says, “and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:13-15 NIV).
It’s a punctuation scene. Right before this happened, and responding to his disciples’ question about who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, Jesus had called a little child to his side and said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4 NIV).
Writer and editor Laura Boggess decided Jesus was serious.
She asked herself what might happen if she approached God with the heart and mind of a child.
And she wondered what that would look like.
One of her first experiences was on a trampoline. When the people who owned the home weren’t there.
Thus were born regular “playdates” with God.
And thus was eventually born Playdates with God: Having a Childlike Faith in a Grownup World.
It’s not just a trampoline. It’s a zipline (I want to see a video of the author ziplining). It’s bird watching. It’s Super-Soakers. It’s walking on the beach. It’s a hammock. It’s anything you plan or encounter that pushes you out of your adult comfort zone and embraces the idea of play and wonder, with the idea that it will lead to a more childlike heart, and a more childlike faith.
Boggess has the gift for telling stories. Each one of the chapters is built around a specific playdate and theme. But she doesn’t stop with only an account of the theme; she adds insights from toher events and situations, calling upon authors from St. Augustine to Madeleine L’Engle and Luci Shaw to enhance and expand.
If I have a personal favorite chapter (and I first have to say I have several favorites, including the naptime chapter), it’s the one entitled “Love Story: Yada, Yada, Yada.” It’s about how the busy world (not to mention arguments and misunderstandings) can crowd out and turn cold our closest human relationships.
I read Playdates with God, and I experience both the joy of play and the deepening of faith. Boggess is that good a writer.
Photograph by George Hodan via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.