More than occasional readers of these pages will know that I loathe the very sight of a child. Nonetheless, I am a vigorous opponent of the common adult practice of talking bollocks to children. The young human being takes what it is told at face value, and has not yet grasped the notion of politely according significance or credibility to total balderdash.
Certain persons who had been around previously would suddenly no longer be there. Then I would hear that they had been buried, and that Lord Jesus had taken them unto himself.
My mother had taught me a prayer which I had to say every evening. I gladly did so because it gave me a sense of comfort in face of the vague uncertainties of the night.
Spread out thy wings, Lord Jesus mild,
And take to thee thy chick, thy child.
“If Satan would devour it,
No harm would overpower it.”
So let the angels sing!
[This is a fudgy translation but it will mostly do. – S]
Lord Jesus was comforting, a nice, benevolent gentleman like Herr Wegenstein up at the castle, rich, powerful, respected, and mindful of little children at night. Why he should be winged like a bird was a conundrum that did not worry me any further. Far more significant and thought provoking was the fact that little children were compared to chicks which Lord Jesus evidently “took” reluctantly, like bitter medicine. This was difficult to understand. But I understood at once that Satan liked chicks and had to be prevetned from eating them. So, although Lord Jesus did not like the taste, he ate them anyway, so that Satan would not get them. As far as that went, my argument was comforting. But now I was hearing that Lord Jesus “took” other people to himself as well, and that this “taking” was the same as putting them in a hole in the ground.
This sinister analogy had unfortunate consequences. I began to distrust Lord Jesus.
In light of interpretations like this, Mama Sled rises to suggest raw candor on the part of those who face the daunting task of discussing unpleasant truths with the young. Perplex them with a gentle metaphor and it is anybody’s guess what will come out at the other end.