Meet my old friend Marianne.
I found her at a flea market back when we lived in France and named her Marianne, after the beautiful woman you see all over France- on French stamps and as busts in town halls, reminding everyone of liberty and equality and fraternity. I planned to put her on our front door when we moved back to the states, but then our South Carolina house came with a perfectly good door knocker and I couldn’t find the right hardware anyway.
So as a joke I hung her door knocker self on a nail on the back of the front door, so if you want to answer the door or step outside, it looks like you should knock first before opening it. At the time, I thought this was hilarious. (I guess that’s what readjusting to American life with three kids in three different schools does to your brain.)
Poor Marianne. Now she just hangs out over my bathroom sink. Before I took the photo of her a few minutes ago, I caught myself wiping stray toothpaste off her face with a little spit on my finger, as if I were her mama. She’s fallen so far from her French life, haha.
But I’ve thought of her off and on all week after Monday morning, when I went around to all the Sunday school classrooms and read how the children answered the wondering questions from Sunday’s story. We always have a set of questions we ask to help the kids think through the story. The teachers write down their answers, which are so often beautiful and profound and wise. Then we share them in our closed group on facebook with the parents – with no names attached- so that the parents can enjoy them too. I don’t know if their parents enjoy them, but I sure do. Most weeks, at least one answer makes me think about the story in a new way.
Last Sunday we shared the story about Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. It’s a great way to help kids understand what kinds of things Jesus talked to people about- what he thought was important. If you haven’t read the sermon in a while, (Matthew 5-7) it’s pretty hefty and covers a lot of territory: how to be happy and blessed by God, generosity, how to pray, the commandments, worrying, and the Golden Rule, among other things.
“I wonder what part of the sermon you liked the best?” the teachers asked.
One of our first graders answered, “The door because when you open your door you let God’s light shine outside.”
Think about that.
See why it reminds me of Marianne, on the back side of my front door?
If I understand the child correctly, the child is imagining that God’s light is with her. She’s not on the opposite side of the door- she’s hanging out with God, inside! When she opens the door, God’s light can shine outside, on others, on the world.
CAN I TELL YOU HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS?
We all want our children to know God is with them, that God’s light is inside them, helping them be who God made them to be! I love that this child’s idea is that she is united with God in shining on the world.
“I wonder what part of the sermon was the most important?”
One of our children said, “The door is the most important. Knock on God’s door.”
He sounds pretty emphatic. And maybe he’s right. Maybe it all comes down to this. God loves you and wants to be part of your life. So knock on God’s door. And keep knocking.
God is already there, holding you, but maybe we humans need to knock.
Knock your whole life long!
When I see Marianne now, especially when I’m brushing my teeth, I’m hoping she’ll remind me of this wisdom.
Blessings to you!