NOTE: While Pastor Charlie is on a trip out of the country through June 5, he has chosen some of his favorite blog posts from his weblog from 2020 to 2021 to share.
FromJanuary 20, 2021
Jesus Blesses Little Children
15 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. 16 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. 17 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”
Jesus comes to lift up the outcast, the vulnerable and broken. Divorced women, the widow, the children – these are the ones on the margins of society. It is these to whom the kingdom belongs.
And then we hear of people – it had to be parents, possibly single-parents, women, divorced women? – bringing children to be “touched” by Jesus. Most often in the Gospels, when someone wants to be touched they want to be healed. So it may be that these children are ill, which may explain a bit, if not defend, the disciples’ reaction. Yet Jesus is indignant, instructing not only that these people – parents, single-parents, women, divorced women? – be allowed to bring their children to him for a touch of blessing and healing, but that it is to precisely these children – suffering, dependent, and vulnerable – that the kingdom of God belongs.
The good news we hear in the lesson today is this – Through Jesus Christ, God cares for those who have been separated and torn apart, those who are alone, dependent, vulnerable, suffering, disenfranchised, and hurting. That includes women. That includes men too. For broken relationships do not discriminate. And that includes the children.
Jesus welcomes the children. Let the children come to me. As a congregation, and as your pastor, I stand by these words. I truly believe that the place children need to be is at the feet of Jesus. Children need to be in worship. It might be difficult at times when their agenda is different than the parents’ agenda.
There may be some screams, some tears, some shuffling in the pews (and that may just be the parents!). But promises were made by the parents, and by you and me at the baptismal font, to bring them to the services of God’s house. They need to learn.
Better yet, WE need to learn. Hear Jesus’ words once again, “17 Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”
Let us pray. Most merciful God, at the font we promise to support the parents in fulfilling their promises made to raise their children in the church. May we welcome and support them in every way. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen