By Canon Cate Edmonds
I have to say it gives me great joy when I walk through the Cathedral during the day to see visitors with small children walking or sometimes running around the nave. I am particularly taken when I see the smallest ones toddling their early steps on our uneven floor. The occasional trip may happen but usually there is a wonderful sense of exploration. Even when a tumble occurs, little fingers explore the uneven stone with great fascination. As they totter from side to side in the Quire aisles the expressions of amazement at the monuments is delightful. They have no expectations, they explore, they touch, they question, and they use all their senses with glee. Okay there are the occasional screams and tears but generally there is just a sense of wonder. But how do we experience our wonderful Cathedral?
“ Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’” Matthew 18:3
Now I’m not suggesting that we all go crawling around on our hands and knees admiring the stonework, but at times we do need to become like children and open ourselves to stand in awe and wonder. To take time to explore physically and mentally. As adults we are often too quick to jump to conclusions or too busy to explore and even experiment.
Children are so open with their questions and their questions are often profound. I am so pleased that our children and young people are asking questions of us about the environment and climate change. They are not backward in challenging us to think more deeply and creatively about what we have done and are doing to the environment.
“but Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.’ And he laid his hands on them and went on his way.”
Not only does the kingdom of heaven belong to our children, so does the earthly kingdom. There are presentations at COP27 from children and young people. We hope and pray that their voices are heard. The children and young people I have been working with recently, encouraging environmental apostles and pioneers, are so much more aware and interested than many adults I come across. They are willing to explore, to question and to try to work out adaptations and mitigations and even to put us to shame. I am pleased to say that, with the support of Scientists in Congregation, I will be able to continue this work into next year.
Perhaps we must be like little children. We must stop and explore how we can make adaptations wherever we can, so that as our children and young people grow up, they will have an earth which they can all to live in. Our actions now will be felt for the next generation and many generations to come. It is never too late for us to be childlike and touch, explore and question how we can halt the decline and devastation of God’s creation. We all have a responsibility to steward this earth for the little children now and for those to come.