I ask that you spend some time reading Luke Chapter 17 through chapter 18:30.
For today, I want to lift up Luke 18:15-17.
People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”
One of the things I miss about worshipping together in person is the kids. It doesn’t matter what kind of a morning you are having, when the kids come up for the children’s message you can’t help but smile. When we read this passage in Luke it is helpful to remember that culturally children were not viewed in the same way they are today. In fact, our version of the children’s message where kids get to come up front and center to chat with the pastor, to ask and answer questions, and to have their own special time is about as far away from the reality of childrens’ lives during Jesus’ time as it gets. So Jesus gathering up children to him was sure to turn a few heads! Even his own disciples thought he was going too far to allow children to take his attention away from “more important” matters. And I wonder, what did those children talk about with Jesus? What stories did they tell him? What stories did he tell them?
One year into this pandemic it is obvious that our children have had radically different experiences than what we experienced as kids. Child and teen mental health has suffered tremendously. Children who relied on school to meet their food, safety, and social needs have suffered, not to mention the change in academic learning despite the herculean efforts from teachers. What stories do our children have about this time of pandemic? What stands out to them as difficult? What stands out to them as comforting? What is scary? What is fun? What are their hopes for the summer and coming school year?
If you have a child in your life, maybe ask them those questions and see what is on their hearts and minds. Listen like Jesus does, reassuring them that their stories matter. Today I encourage you to set aside time to pray for children, the children in your life and the children in our communities. May we hear them well, and may we love them even better.
In Peace, Pastor Ruth
Let us pray:
We are turning, Lord, to hear you, see you, and know you. You are merciful and kind, slow to anger, rich in blessings. With every twist and turn, lead our steps back to your grace and your mercy. Lead us in your ways of new life, forgiveness, and re-creation. We pray in the name of Christ, the one who reveals your love, Amen.