Thursday, January 9, 2014

Dr. Crane's Smiling Portrait of Jesus

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.
Matthew 19:14, NIV

This is a familiar passage to us, but perhaps not as thoroughly appreciated as it should be. We seldom hear that Jesus was indignant with those who would hinder these little ones. A wise man reminded me that these were little children, tender ones who could not yet respond to anything but the face of one they saw.

When I was a little boy, I would sit on the front porch waiting for the newspaper to be delivered. After I read the comics, I turned to the column of Dr.Crane, a Christian psychiatrist (Freudian). He dealt with this passage so beautifully, and explained that little children do not approach someone with a harsh demeanor, but rather are charmed by a smiling face. Dr. Crane had a portrait of Jesus in his home, showing just such an expression. Years later, I saw it in a magazine.

How many people grow up being frightened by images of an angry God, used as a "control device" to make them behave. I read biographies of those whose parents were referred to as strict, cheerless, "religious" people. Later, these children rebelled at such an upbringing and rejected the idea of their God. It can take a lifetime to repair such damage. It seems that Pharisees are still with us.

I was in a home where there was a little boy, in diapers, in a play pen next to my chair. I looked at him and smiled. He smiled back and waved his arm up and down."I believe he likes you," said his mother.

Such a simple thing, expressing love with a smile. Don't you wish that all children could think of God in that way?

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