Being a Christian – a disciple of Christ – is, at one level, a bit of a crazy move. Being a Christian means, as Jesus insisted, a ‘surrendering’ way of living out our lives: a surrendering to the mystery of living a life that is rejected; a surrendering to the mystery of dying and death; a surrendering to the unfathomable mystery of finding our lives in the life of God.

No wonder Jesus’ first disciples were confused about the path he was asking them to follow, and were afraid to ask what it all meant. Christianity, at one level, has always been an outlandish proposition. Us Christians, after all, might live in this world around us, but we are asked by the Lord not to be of this world. Crazily, we live on a promise of belonging to another world, another kingdom, by belonging to Christ.

According to evolutionary biology, life itself is inherently competitive; ‘survival of the fittest’ does not afford much space for the notion of ‘surrendering.’ When we live according to world around us, that is, according to the ways of the world, then a certain competitive edge will come to rule our lives. To take the way of the Gospel, to throw our lot in with Jesus, is to see our lives beyond what is determined by biology or culture or the economy. It is, rather, to make that crazy decision to step away from what determines our lives and to live it in a freedom to give over to something deeper and live-giving: to surrender.

We should not be overly scandalised with the thought that the first disciples became preoccupied with who was the greatest among themselves. It is a question – and a disposition – that arose because they were still living in a worldly way and by a worldly measure; they had not yet surrendered their lives to Jesus. When we see in ourselves the signs of a competitive streak, of a desire to be first over others, then we, too, have not yet embraced the ‘crazy’ way of the Gospel.

But what is crazy at one level, is hope and wonder at another, because the way of the least and the little, the humble and the simple, turns out to be liberating. Jesus showed this by presenting to his disciples a little child. I like to think this child had been running about, in and out between the legs of the grown-ups, oblivious to what they were discussing. This child was free, unencumbered by the weight of the world, yet also utterly reliant on the adults in its midst.

A child is the perfect image of trust and hope, and Jesus embraces this way of living – in trust and hope – when he embraced the child scrambling around his legs. A child is always surrendering over his/her life in trust, without even being aware of it. Children only learn distrust – which is different to caution – from adults. Sadly, distrust is something that is taught. We sometimes say this is for their own protection, but is that really the case? Is it not more to do with the fear that rules our worldly lives?

As Jesus sat that child on his lap, he wanted to teach his disciples to un-learn the ways of fear that seek to control and conquer in the world. Children can do crazy things, and get away with it, because they have not lost the freedom that comes with surrendering in trust.

At one level, taking the Christian way is crazy. But at a far deeper level, it is a way of surrendering ourselves to a more liberating and hopeful life that leads to peace, kindness and consideration, to compassion and goodness. May these fruits grow in us.