The Way We Were
by Rich Mullins
Release Magazine Spring 1993
Before we had stifled the cross into a symbol, before we had softened grace into a sentiment, before we had systematized the power and mystery of God's greatest revelation of Himself into a set of dogmas, we were the children that we must become again.
And when we were those wee kids (you remember, don't you?) every stable was sacred because it was in a stable that Christ was born, and every star was an angel of God's presence because He had told Abraham to see in them the number of blessings to come. Every tree had hands to clap and mountains had voices, pebbles could penetrate the helments on the heads of giants, sins were shameful and love was irrepressible.
And we prayed powerful, profound prayers - prayers so direct and wonderfully indiscreet that we blush now when we remember them - the prayers and the faith that lifted them up to God in those heights where we used to meet Him - heights that we now view drearily and dizzily and doubtfully.
We used to pray: "Into my hear, into my heart, Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today, come in to stay, Come into my heart, Lord Jesus..." and we can't grasp it much more now than we could then, only it didn't stop us from praying. When we were little, we gave ourselves over to faith. Now we are big, and too heavy to rise above our own understanding.
When we were kids we sang for the joy of singing, we colored and cut and pasted for the fun of doing it. We ran for the love of running and laughed and got scared and saw the world as a real place full of real dangers and real beauty and real rights and wrongs.
And if the cross is more than a symbol (and it is), and if grace is more than a sentiment (and, thank God, it is), if Jesus Christ is really God's revelation of Himself and not the product of human imagination (and He is), then we will become the children we once were and must become again. Stables will be temples, stars will be guarantees, "the trees of the fields will clap their hands and the mountains and the hills will break forth in singing..." We will pray and run and work and give ourselves over to faith. And God will be our Father and His Kingdom will be our home, for we will be those children we once were, and "of such is the Kingdom of Heaven..."