People have speculated for years what it is about children that belongs to the kingdom of God. Personally, I think its a bit like children and Christmas – that sense of uncontainable excitement and the exuberant thrill of expected joy and delight. Everything else goes along with this – trust, simplicity, and a sense of wonder; and a lack of baggage – greed, prejudice and anxiety, you know, all the things that us grown-ups tend to accumulate. The sort of stuff that led us to nailing Jesus to the cross.
Like Jesus insisting on letting the children come, and being unafraid of touching lepers, Cuthbert, in the midst of the plague, approaches a young mother, already bereaved, cradling her dying baby, and kisses him. These are the dangerous outsiders, the ones for whom (anti)social distancing was invented. But personal safety was of no interest to Cuthbert – he was unafraid of death. In fact, he was looking forward to passing through the door to meet Eternal Life. So he was free to live and to love.
Reminds me of a short poem by the American poet, Emily Dickinson:
The Blunder is in estimate. Eternity is there We say, as of a Station — Meanwhile he is so near He joins me in my Ramble — Divides abode with me — No Friend have I that so persists As this Eternity.