‘I hope Jesus comes by our house so that I can play tag with him,’ says Billy while waving his cereal-loaded spoon around.
Thereafter ensued a fairly amicable debate, with varying degrees of humility and pride, as to whether anyone would be able to run faster than Jesus. One moment his absolute power was acknowledged, but in the next it seemed to be dependent upon which shoes everyone was wearing.
Most mornings in our house start with mountains of cereal, and Bible stories. We have a few different kids’ story Bibles, and we swing from one to the next depending on mood and desire. As lovers of stories in any context, there’s an appetite for reading while eating one’s breakfast and it’s often the boys reminding me to grab the Bible and get reading.
A frequent question at the moment is whether whatever we’re reading or watching is real or not. Rufus is beginning to grasp that some stories are made up, while others aren’t. It’s as if he’s getting his bearings in the world, mapping out reality and then fitting fiction in alongside it. The Bible goes into the ‘real’ category – Jesus was a real person, who really did walk among people on this earth and really did die on the cross and rise again.
So it makes sense for Billy to wonder whether Jesus would be knocking on our door for a game of tag. His sense of reality is right, but his sense of history and how God works now needs to be honed.
While Jesus won’t be knocking, He is speaking and listening and giving life now through His word, by His Spirit. Face to face comes later – maybe there will be an epic game of chase in heaven – but through the Bible we can watch, listen and encounter Jesus in more ways than even those who picnicked with him on fish and bread.
As the risen Jesus pushes into our everyday lives, and we seek to follow Him as a family, the challenge is to allow Him to shape the here and now, influence our decisions and trust Him with our everything. The culture around us more often than not nudges Him into the background, maybe kicking Him into the fictional category or dismissing Him as ‘nice but not for me’. As our boys grow up, they’ll be making their own decisions. I’m sure the debate will move on from who’s the fastest, but I pray discussions remain lively and sincere as they navigate the reality of Jesus and hopefully walk their everyday with truth-fuelled faith.