Today's Lectionary Text
Mark 10:2-5, 13-16Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her.” But Jesus said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you.
People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them, and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; 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.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.
Well, they are honestly themselves and they lovingly share those selves with the world.
Children do not mind being vulnerable and their energy is boundless. Maybe it is the 18-month-old going up a crude concrete step, then walking around the edges of a raised concrete slab, and then descending by a stair on the other side, going around and repeating these actions, and again and again. The kindergartener dances and hops and expresses great joy with each twirl. Or, there is the second-grader with deep curiosity who distributes hugs gladly. These things are what I got to experience one-day last week at the Tall Grass Preserve near Strong City, Kansas.
The Tall Grass was especially lovely, at the height of its beauty. My grandchildren engaged with the site and with me. What a day! Throughout that day, God was steadily present, the prairie spoke of God’s creative presence; each of the children was a reminder of how cherished by God is each person. Mark’s account shows Jesus demonstrated by his action with children the specialness of each individual.
At the end of the day, it became clear that calm and serenity had descended upon me sometime during the day. That peace-filled and energized me and made me glad. It was an empowering atmosphere.
It worked that way for me. Other people surely receive God’s power in other ways and through experiences different than mine. The significant piece of the puzzle though, regardless of the kind of experience, is that we allow ourselves to be filled and used. When we are overflowing with the Presence of God, coming to us via children or nature or worship or a concert, we are alerted to watch and listen, to see and hear where God would lead us.
Maybe we are led to try something that is not on our current listing of places we serve. It could be seeing with more open eyes and encountering another who is an unsavory type, one with whom we would rather not be in ministry. Or it might be a nudge to forgo a favorite activity to give a couple of hours to pack up family food sacks at the local food pantry.
When we are filled with God’s Presence, we can offer thanks and praise by moving out into the world and discovering where we can make a difference. God’s Presence with us will not be reduced by such action. Rather it will only grow larger.
What a gift! Thanks be to God.
-Rev. Dianne Tombaugh
Retired Diaconal Minister
Prayer for Reflection
Thank you for the way, O Holy One, you constantly fill me. Make me aware, as well, of the needs all around me today. Empower me to reach out. In the name of the One who welcomed the children to himself. Amen.
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