We are drawn to stories of children. We see ourselves in their faces and we naturally want to care for and protect them.
When children are threatened we want to respond. We want to do...something.
Our children belong to all of us and we each have a role to play in making their lives safe and sustaining. God's justice calls us to this task.next >
Then little children were being brought to him in order that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples spoke sternly to those who brought them; but 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.” And he laid his hands on them and went on his way.
Matthew 19:13–15next >
Scripture does not tell us why the disciples considered the children a bother. It does tell us that Jesus wanted their presence, though. More than that, he made it clear that they were members of God’s kingdom—part of his community. It says he placed his hands on them and brought them out of exclusion.
Girls are especially vulnerable to exclusion globally. They are forced into child marriages, whether through abduction or parental will. Like boys, they are sometimes forced to fight in wars, but this causes them to be particularly vulnerable to rape, sometimes causing communities to reject them even if they can escape the forced soldiery. Yearly, 2.4 million people are trafficked according to the United Nations, and many of these are also girls.
While we usually cannot place our hands on them as Jesus did, we can imitate him by praying for them from wherever we are. We can ask God to protect these girls. We can ask God to show us actions to take. Will you do that today?
Laura Rectornext >
Jesus, you take people who are left out and you protect them and bring them into community. Help me to imitate you. Amen.next >
Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Laura Rector serves as a member of the adjunct faculty at Fuller Theological Seminary. She also has taught homeless preschoolers and served in cross-cultural ministries in the United States and Asia.