I worried that my daughter might actually think that was it. That she would say those words, we’d throw a party, and she’d smile; having earned her Heaven badge. Added to it, is knowing that most church children’s ministries and even our “Christian” pre-school actually state that in their goals. They want to achieve getting my daughter to say those words, and will probably call me or send a card home at some point…or many points if they each do it individually…letting me know my daughter has become a “Christian”.
Why did I worry?
I think because I (confession time) stopped dancing with that metaphor myself. Not even “just” that metaphor, but many ways of speaking of Jesus Christ that seem like 5 year old speak. After all, I’m much older/more learned now. I can speak of Justification, Sanctification, and Resurrection Life, etc. etc. etc.
Perhaps what a lot of us need, and what Jesus emphasized in scripture if we’ll remind ourselves once in a while….is to use 5 year old speak. Not in simply speaking it. But speaking it/thinking of it as a 5 year old would. My daughter is only 3, and already is asking a thousand questions a day. The word “why” begins and ends every conversation. Nothing is understood, but everything is grappled with.
So when my daughter comes home with a note pinned to her shirt, or I get a phone call or a card in the mail that tells me my daughter has prayed to “ask Jesus into her heart”…..I will genuinely celebrate. Not because my daughter believes she has achieved any sort of badge or ticket into Heaven. But because she is participating in a conversation where her thousand “why’s” can find full and redeeming dances with God.