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.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" He called a child, whom he put among them, and said, "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me."
When asked, “Who is the greatest?” Jesus basically answered, “Children. Be like them.” Jesus equated welcoming children with welcoming the Messiah. This makes welcoming children a form of worship—a matter of obedience to God, not just a “special interest” or one-time event. Jesus’ words demonstrate both God’s humility and children’s inclusion and elevation in the kingdom of God.
In our world children are particularly vulnerable. In Africa, children often raise their younger siblings because their parents died in the AIDS crisis. Children make up the majority of citizens in the developing world, where they don’t always have access to clean water or education. Girls are especially vulnerable. For example, when faced with multiple mouths to feed but little food, a family might choose to feed a son because he is considered less of a financial liability. However, in some cases, families in poverty hope for girls, so they can sell them into trafficking to feed their siblings.
We are doing a bad job of “welcoming” children, but there are organizations who are helping us do better. How might you become involved with them?
Jesus, thank you for seeing me as important. Help me to see how important others are to you too. Show me how to welcome others into your kingdom. Amen.
Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.