Thursday, February 16, 2006

Newborn Babies Are Living Poetry and Art and Much More Wrapped Up In Human Flesh

As a Pastor I get to visit newborn babies and their happy parents. Often I even get to visit them in the hospital soon after delivery. Well, it's been a little over one week since Riley was born as the first child of our church Choir Director but, when I stopped by to see her for the first time today she was as fresh and new as the dew on a rose at the first light of morning!

I have never seen an ugly baby. Even those with "coneheads" from a long and difficult labor are beautiful beyond words.

It's this "beyond words" thought that always gives me "chicken skin" when I see a newborn baby. I feel like I have stepped back into the Garden of Eden on the morning of the Sixth Day of Creation. There is something "eternal" about the newness of a baby. It's almost as though the baby's "essence" has come from somewhere else only to emerge into our sight like a Spring Crocus pushing its way through the last remaining crust of the Winter's snow.

As a Christian I sense more "mystery beyond human understanding" in a baby than I do at any other time or on any other occasion. In the same way that a great painting draws us into its little world of artificial reality and somehow manages to open our eyes to some new understanding about the real world, a baby also seems to add up to more than the sum of its parts.

Little Riley is like a little link to something greater than herself. As the Psalmist says, God has made her just "a little lower than the angels."

Babies make me want to compose music or write poetry. Riley's father tells me he has already been creating songs to sing with her when he holds her at night while Mom gets to rest.

As we grow up we somehow seem to lose a bit of that mysterious "link" to something above and beyond, something greater than ourselves. Perhaps that is why Jesus loved children so much and declared that "to them belongs the Kingdom of Heaven."

There is spiritual power in a baby. I am always pleased when folks bring babies and young children to funerals. One squeal, one fit of crying, one snippit of unintelligible gurgling from a baby can transform the mourning of death into the celebration of life at a funeral.

I definitly want babies at my own funeral. Lots of them. If there is a shortage of them for some reason, please feel free to borrow or rent them. I want everyone to catch a glimpse of the Kingdom of Heaven at my funeral and babies will capture that eternal reality far more effectively than words alone.

Riley managed to "link" me to God this afternoon. I prayed a blessing on her but I was the one who received the greater blessing. From a baby. Imagine that!