Most weeks we buy a small package of them. It is a nice treat for the boys.
It also serves the practical parenting purposes of giving them something at the end of the week to earn, and giving them a Saturday morning breakfast they can get without help if they wake up before my wife and I are ready to get out of bed.
Tonight this weekly mochi treat helped me explain some theology to Smiley.
Smiley: What happened to Yeshua's spirit when he was dead for three days?Now I wonder what I will need to explain tomorrow.
Me: That did not hurt God. If you were telling a story, and put yourself in the story, and in the story that character of you died, it would not hurt you.
Smiley: But what about Yeshua's spirit?
Me: We know his spirit was not hurt because he was soon alive with a body again.
Smiley: That does not answer my question, daddy.
Me: The Bible does not say much about where his spirit went. In one place the Bible hints that maybe he went to the place where dead people wait for the World to Come. Some people believe that people who have soft hearts and will be in the World to Come do not have to wait like they are sleeping, but get to be in the heaven of This World with God while they wait.
Smiley: So they are like little gods?
Me: No. Not at all. If that is what happens, they are just waiting with God for the Day of Judgment.
Smiley: But how can they be there if they have not had judgment yet?
Me: There are two parts to judgment. There is the decision and the consequence. Imagine I said that all you had to do this week to earn getting mochi on Friday was to read one Elephant and Piggie book to mommy. And imagine that you did that tonight before bed. Then you would not have to worry more about whether or not you would get mochi this week.
Smiley: So judgment is like a contest.
Me: Sort of. But in most contests there is someone who gets first place, and someone who get second place. For the World to Come there are no people who win the most and get trophies.
Smiley: But if there was a race that was very tricky and only a few people finished, it would be like that. If they finish they go to the World to Come. Getting lost during the race is like the second death.
Me: Yes. Everyone who finished will be happy that they finished.
Smiley: So judgment is a reward.
Me: Judgment is both things. It is the decision and the reward. People who talk to God, and hear God, and God helps them make good choices, and whose heart gets softer and softer--they will be in the World to Come. They do not need to wait until the Day of Judgment to know that. But they still have to wait for the reward.
Conversations like that one do prompt me to pray that I will be able to answer the next tricky question in an way a six-year-old can understand.