Ask and Receive
“For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? Or if the child asks for an egg, who will give a scorpion?” – Luke 11:10-12 (NRSV)
Jesus is rarely this colorful of speech. He is more the plainspoken type. But here somebody has bugged him into indignation. He is sure that doors open, but he is speaking to a people who imagine doors don’t. He is chiding those who give children snakes instead of fish, or cynicism instead of hope; those who teach children to think that closed doors are not just closed but also locked. If a child asks for an open world, would you give them a closed one? If a child needs an egg, why give them something that could harm them, like a scorpion?
Jesus asks a good colorful question. Why would anyone harm children? Unfortunately, many people harm children because they have been harmed as children. Scorpions arrived when kids looked for eggs. Doors can still open even for those who have yet to have the childhood they deserve. How can we find out if that is true? Go find a knob. Twist it. Go find a window. Open it. Give it a little shoulder. Get up tomorrow morning and get help to get over old injuries. Get yourself a fish and an egg. Have a resurrection breakfast. Every day is Easter, for those who ask and search. They receive and find. They knock―repeatedly―and doors can open.
O God, if past injuries are ruining our present lives, if our own hurt gets in the way of our raising our children or the world’s children, put a doorknob in our hand and have a friend stand by. Let us ask, again, and receive what we deserve. Amen.
Donna Schaper is Senior Minister at Judson Memorial Church in New York City. Her most recent book is I Heart Francis: Letters to the Pope from an Unlikely Admirer.