Childlike Salvation – Br. Luke Ditewig

Br. Luke Ditewig

Galatians 4:4-7

“God sent his Son, born of a woman, … so that we might receive adoption as children.” We are not slaves but children of the King of Kings. As Savior, Jesus names us daughter and son.  When teaching, Jesus often pointed to children and told adults to be like them.How is being childlike part of salvation?

Freedom. Children naturally play, risking the new. Step outside the box. Move about. See if it and how it works.God is always inviting us into more. Childlike freedom furthers our becoming.

Perspective. A serious, adult sensibility can be stifling. Get down, get up close. Look to the low, little, seemingly small or insignificant. This is where we often see God. Stay with what you see. Gaze. Imagine.

Belonging. We cry Abba.  Father. God cries: Daughter.  Son. You are my beloved, in whom I am well-pleased.  We belong to the King of Kings, dearly loved as we are.  Children, receiving love, relax into it, savor, and trust.

As Savior, Jesus names us beloved children. A childlike freedom, perspective, and belonging furthers our salvation. In this new year, listen for God’s invitations to step out and risk, to look low, and to relax into love.

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  1. The Rev. Carolyn Legg on December 28, 2022 at 15:28

    Brother Luke:

    Thank you. So simple in its presentation and yet so full of God’s love and such good advice. I am truly a child of God and I love the feeling!!! Thank you,

  2. janet on December 28, 2022 at 09:11

    I am lucky enough to live near a school where I can see children playing outside in sun, rain or snow–seemingly happy with whatever the day brings. Maybe they are not as happy as they appear but their laughter, shouting and running gives me a look at what I would like life to be like. Thanks for the reminder to be childlike sometimes.

  3. John McDargh on January 11, 2020 at 12:16

    I love the invitation . “Get down, get up close. Look to the low, little, seemingly small or insignificant. This is where we often see God. Stay with what you see. Gaze. Imagine.” … It echoes Mary Oliver’s wonderful poem “The Summer Day”. To be a “child” is to recover the capacity for wonder and fresh attention:

    ” I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
    I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
    into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,”

    Thank you Luke

  4. Charles Taliaferro on January 11, 2020 at 10:14

    Response to Christina: I appreciate your forceful affirmation of those who do not walk the Christian path are no less loved by God. And yetI still have an appreciation of what I think Brother Luke was seeking to commend about adoption.

    I suggest that the idea that those who follow Christ are adopted into the household or family of God is not a teaching that “others” are not loved by God. I put ‘others’ in quotes for those who are not explicitly Christian or even who reject Christianity may actually be acting in union with the love of Christ / God the Father. more than so-called Christian. In other words, some people who reject the whole idea of there being a God might act more like children of God than Christian. Be that as it may, the notion that those who seek to (or who actually do) abide in Christ are adopted is (in my view) beautiful: it honors the primacy of Jews as children of Abraham (and it is thus counter to anti-sematism) and it extols the awesome value of adoption. I know some peers who think adoption is second rate compared with biological birth and who would not (in principle) adopt a child rather than have “their own” children. I suggest that the more Christians / we self-identify as adopted, the more they / we do to highlight and recognize the good of adoption. In a world, where there are so many orphans, such a testimony may be sorely needed. Moreover, concerning “the billions of humankind who walk a different path,” I believe the message of Christianity is an open invitation to see if their walk might include a walk with Jesus of Nazareth, while fully realizing with humility that many of us who seek to live in light of the humble. emancipatory love of Christ fail to do so and realizing too that (we) Christians can learn about wisdom and the divine from those who are non-Christian, practicing Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, atheists, agnostics… From the perspective of my Buddhist, Muslim and secular friends, I think they would find it either inappropriate or off-putting for me to propose that they are children of God (by adoption or by simply being created and sustained in being) the Father through Jesus Christ. I think they would not be so offended if I related that, as a Christian, I believe they are loved by God (the Triune God of Christian faith), but that they are in a parent-child relationship (symbolicaly or analogically or metaphorically) would be another matter.

    Thank you Brother Luke with your underscoring the playful, familiarity and intimacy of the good of adoption.

    • Celia on January 11, 2020 at 11:27

      Thank you!

    • Brenda Griffing on January 12, 2020 at 08:58

      Thank you, Charles, for a more thoughtful comment than my instant “What?!” reaction. Your presentation of a more detailed, theologically grounded interpretation of the concept of adoption is surely closer to what Brother Luke had in mind.

  5. Kristin McJ on January 11, 2020 at 09:48

    “A childlike freedom, perspective, and belonging furthers our salvation. In this new year, listen for God’s invitations to step out and risk, to look low, and to relax into love.”

    This really speaks to me right now…. I’ve been working on being more open after the challenges of the last few years and when I am I see the peace and comfort. Thank you.

  6. Jeanne DeFazio on January 11, 2020 at 09:47

    Thanks for the reminder to relax into love. It is important to feel the love of God to share it with others. Jesus everlasting arms of love are always there for us!

  7. Christina McKerrow on January 13, 2016 at 08:43

    I don’t believe that we were ‘adopted.’ We are all God’s creatures and, I believe that to be so from the moment of conception. As Christians, are we saying that it is only those who have been baptised into the Christian faith who have been ‘adopted.’ Not so. Exclusivity? Are we suggesting that all the billions of humankind who walk a different path are not children of the Almighty Creator? Pleasel ‘No.’ Christina

    • SusanMarie on January 11, 2020 at 07:30

      I’ve often wondered about the word “adopted” in this passage and others. Thanks for bringing it to the forefront. I hope to someday understand why the word was used. Much of what you wrote are my questions as well.

    • Brenda Griffing on January 11, 2020 at 08:34

      I very much doubt that Br. Luke intended to “suggest” any such thing, but I’ve often been transiently pained by the implication Christina rightfully deplores — I hear it frequently in sermons and pastoral remarks in the Roman Catholic parish whose services I often attend. The assertion of exclusivity seems to need to be taken in the context of an ordained clergyman instructing or exhorting fellow members of his communion, thus by definition excluding Anglican Catholics and communicants in the Eastern Church. The “What am I, chopped liver?” reaction may come automatically, but it can be helpful to step back and perceive the speaker’s closeness to the majority of his listeners, namely, other Roman Catholics. Is there arrogance here? Probably yes, in some cases, or at least insensitivity. But I think it’s more a matter of habit than an intentional insistence on exclusivity. Admittedly, it can be annoying, but no one’s perfect, including the Roman Catholic clergy.

      • Rick Porter on December 28, 2022 at 09:01

        Thank you Brenda. This issue like so many other mysteries in Scripture is something that I now note each time I encounter it but then revert to the certain knowledge that I am an adopted child of God and that the Holy Spirit is so clearly at work in my life; a life that calls me to love all and to show this love in big and seemingly insignificant ways.

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