You see, a few months ago this little guy asked God to be his King (kind of like his older brother did last year)
Me: Hey buddy, I want to talk with you about something.
Him: Okay. (raises stick in the air as we walk through the forest) "In the beginning! God created! The heavens and the earth! Genesis 1:1!"
Me: (wow - interesting sense of timing) That's right, buddy. Do you remember what He did after that?
Him: Yeah... He made people.
Me: Yeah... then what happened?
Him: Then the snake tried to trick them.
Me: Right. (wow) Did Adam and Eve listen to the snake?
Him: Yes... (pause) they made bad choices.
Me: That's right. That hurt God and broke the world.
Him: (looking around at the forest) But... well, we can fix the world.
Me: With God we can, you're right. Do you know why that's possible?
Him: What's "possible" mean?
Me: Sorry... "possible" means that Someone did something so something good can happen. Do you know who came to earth so God can be our King forever and we can be His knights?
Me: That's right, buddy. And what did Jesus do for us?
Me: Do you remember what Jesus did for us?
Him: He died on a cross.
Me: But then He came back... and He made a way for us to be with Him forever.
Him: Yes, but we have to stop the snake.
Me: That's actually what I want to talk to you about, buddy.
(by now, we've made it to a clearing and I've put a blanket down - as well as the box and bag I've been carrying)
Me: Daniel, I have a special present for you... it's because you've chosen to be one of God's knights now.
Him: What is it?
Me: Well, what does a knight need?
Him: A sword!
Him: To stop the dragon!
Me: That's right - and also to help the King and protect all the people the dragon might hurt.
Me: That's why I have a special present for you... (taking a brand new Bible out of the bag I've had with me) it's your very own, new Bible... and it's kind of like a sword. We use it to stop the dragon, help the King, and protect all the people the dragon might hurt.
Him: This is my Bible? (taking it from me)
Me: It is.
Me: Now listen to me very carefully... this book tells us the Truth... there are no lies in this book, buddy. But... it will help you figure out what the lies are.
Me: To help you remember this is like a sword, though, I have one other special present for you.
Him: What is it?
Me: (I open the box I had put down) Daniel, this... is your sword.
Him: For ME!?!?!
Me: Yes, buddy. It's a pretend sword to help you remember the Bible is your real sword.
Me: Now every knight does something special to tell the King and other people that he wants to serve Him. Do you want to serve the King?
Me: Then kneel... (he does, and I move the sword about his shoulders) I hereby declare and recognize that you are Sir Daniel, one of God's knights, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit... now rise... and take your sword.
Him: (grabbing his sword with my assistance) It's heavy.
Me: Remember that... swords need special care so they don't hurt us or others.
(around this time my wife and oldest son joined us, strategically planned so we could celebrate together... and we'd brought the other sword belonging to my oldest son)
Oldest: Hey! You have a sword now, too!
Oldest: (to me) Can I have one like he has?
Me: Actually, everybody's sword is a little different because we all are made special by God in different ways. (By the way, that was my wife's idea - a good one, I might add) Why don't you boys kneel once more so we can affirm our oath together.
Together: "Serve the King... (boys echo) love all people... (boys echo) do what is good... (boys echo) in the name of the Father... (boys echo) and the Son... (boys echo) and the Holy Spirit... (boys echo)"
Maybe this is all a bit odd to you, and I'm sure there is some theological discussion we can have about how young/old someone needs to be before they can "really" mean a salvation prayer.
Which, by the way, isn't found anywhere in the Bible.
I think what God is concerned about is the direction of our hearts, and as best as I can tell these two little guys in all of the sincerity they can muster want God to be their King so they can serve Him as a knight would. On more than one occasion, their chilvary to care for the Kingdom and its people has caused me to question and deepen my own version.
Which is just fine by me.
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)
Train up a child in the way he should go [and in keeping with his individual gift or bent], and when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6, AMP)