My son trundles up the stairs with the rest of the children from the Sunday school group holding in his hand… ummm… ahhh… what is that? I take the piece of art that he has made at Sunday School and turn it around and around in my hands, trying to make sense of it.
I whisper to him, “Is it a cup?” No. He points to the scribbles taped to the front and replies, “Those are explosions.” So I whisper, “Are they decorations for a flower pot?” But I look again. No, it has no bottom—or wait… where exactly is the bottom of that… umm… most excellent piece of art that my child has given me with starry pride? Clearly the thing represents something—if I only knew what.
I feel like I have to hurry, move on from this interchange with my son and listen to someone saying something very important at the front. So I try to place my son’s artful thing in the pew bible holder. No wait. My son is looking at me. I can’t just leave the thing there near a bible. But why not? Our house is so full already with all these little things! Wouldn’t it be best to just save only the most superlative artwork? Now I am almost certain my son understands that I am trying to deposit the thing gracefully before recycling day. Quick! I’ll put it under my coat. No, I can’t. Its purple paint will seep onto my coat collar.
So it is settled. I will keep the thing—at least for a while. After all, I love my child and I will think of how to make something of his offering while I focus on crucial matters. What was that sermon all about anyway?
Christ stood before a restless crowd of 5,000. They are hungry and their hunger is likely starting to make them angry—my own sister with 2 sons likes to call this being “hangry”. Only holy profundity or food will delay a skirmish. And then a child trundles up the hill toward Jesus holding in his hand… ummm….wait… what is that… two fish and some bread to feed 5000? Are you kidding me?
The offerings of children are seemingly minor, sometimes quizzical, even frustrating but wholly sufficient. Their contributions to our spiritual communities can alter us. 2 fishes and 5 loaves—how did such a trivial offering amount to so much?
I take a closer look at that piece of art and wonder.