"It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble." Luke 17.2
The indigenous name for Applecross translates as Sanctuary and one presumes it refers to the settlement established by the Celtic saint Maelrubha, as his headquarters, from which he launched Gospel missions to Skye and Aberdeenshire among other places. It evokes a safe place from which to sally forth and to which to return and recuperate.
Jesus' instinct to protect young children appears to be motivated both by his concern for their physical safety and because, in their wonder and trust, they represent a safe space in which to appreciate life and creation in their purest form, before they become corrupted by sinful behaviour and cynical attitudes. There is no place for the latter in the realm Jesus came to announce and call us to. That is why we adults must becomes like little children. And it is another reason not to abuse children. We need their example to show us the way, to remind us of what we are beneath the detritus of age and experience.
How shall we become like the children Jesus endorsed? Not by re-entering the womb, as Nicodemus discovered, but through spiritual rebirth. This involves exchanging our worldly mindset for absolute trust in God - to the point where our whole being is invested in God alone. We may continue to operate as parents and neighbours and workers and pensioners but our point of reference - our sanctuary - is no longer our tarnished persona but that we are children of God.