Today's Lectionary Text
Matthew 19:14but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.”
Following surgery and a stint in a skilled nursing facility, I came home on March 16. While I was away, the world had changed. Because I also have several underlying health issues that make me vulnerable to COVID-19, I have stayed very close to home ever since. I’m careful when I have to do shopping, and (until this week) I have only eaten out via drive-thru fast food. My masks are my friends.
Worst, though, for me as for many others, has been the lack of human contact. So, I looked forward to physical therapy and medical appointments just because there would be another human being touching me!
Then came Memorial Day weekend. It is my family’s practice to put flowers on the graves of family members on Friday evening or early Saturday morning. So, on Friday evening my brother and I headed to the cemetery to meet up with his wife and two of their granddaughters who had been helping put flags on veterans’ graves.
I had not seen the little girls since shortly after Christmas, but when they saw me get out of the truck, they came running across the cemetery to fling their arms around me and give me the best kind of hug. It felt so good to be hugged! Especially to be hugged by two young girls who were not worried about a virus or concerned as to whether they should hug me or not. They were just letting me know that they love me and had missed me.
Seven-year-old Annie, always followed by her 3-year-old sister, greets everyone in the same enthusiastic manner. Together, they welcome anyone and everyone into their circle without regard for who a person is or if that person is known to them or is someone just waiting to become a new friend.
Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t forbid them because the kingdom of heaven belongs to people like these children.”
In recent weeks, as civil unrest over a long history of discrimination has unfolded across our country, I have thought about Jesus’ words in the context of the openness of children to welcome others. Until they are taught to hate or fear others – or far worse, learn fear out of experiences with others – children get it. We are all God’s children and precious in God’s sight. Until we ALL learn to greet and experience others as children of God and members of the kingdom of heaven, we will continue to struggle with systemic discrimination, ingrained white privilege, and an unwillingness to let go of those things that keep us separated.
--Rev. Robbie Fall, retired elder
Prayer for Reflection
Creator God, as Jesus welcomed all – especially the children – to his side, let us open wide our circles to enthusiastically receive all your children so that your kingdom may truly come. Amen.
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