My three year old is a big fan Colin Buchanan fan. (She follows in the footsteps of all her siblings in this respect!)
Recently we bought a new 'Colin' CD and it's been played over and over and over again in the car. There's one song on it that's a bit of an oldie - I don't know the precise date it was written, but it has a kinda 70s feel! It starts: "Blind man sat by the road and he cried..." and goes on in a subsequent verse to speak about how "Jesus stood by the road and he cried... 'I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life'...".
The other day, when the song started, she started requesting the 'Jesus' bit. Not the blind man bit or the lame man bit or any of the other verses but the 'Jesus' one. I thought at first that it was just that she was more familiar with his name. But a few days later I came to the conclusion that the reason was a bit more complicated. As she sang along, I could hear that she was singing: "Jesus stepped on the road and he cried". Then she sighed at the end of the song. "Poor Jesus".
Then it hit me. She had interpreted the song as being a sad story about Jesus. Poor Jesus was having a bad day. He had stepped on the road and he was sad and he cried. Just like she cries from time to time for reasons ranging from big to the small (like stepping on the road).
So I filed it under "fun things that kids say" and smiled at the comical way in which she had missed the point of the song: when Jesus 'cries' in this song he is proclaiming, not weeping.
But then it occurred to me that there was a truth buried under her misunderstanding that was good for me to be reminded of. The message that Jesus teaches to the disciples and proclaims to the crowds is not a cool or emotionless message. When he 'cries out' to the crowds in John 12 (in similar terms to the message that he teaches his disciples in John 14) there is a note of heavy sadness that carries across into his words from the surrounding context. It is only a chapter earlier, in John 11, that he is weeping with grief and sympathy beside the tomb of his friend Lazarus, and in Matthew's gospel and Luke's gospel, in contexts not unlike the end of John 12, Jesus is weeping over Jerusalem because of the way in which they rejected God's messengers and refused his Messiah.
I'm glad that the Jesus I meet in the gospels not only 'cried out' in proclamation but also 'cried' with real, human tears; that he preached with a sympathetic and a heavy heart, and that he understands the pain of the world into which he came to bring salvation.
So maybe Lydia didn't get it completely wrong after all!