Friday, June 1st. Mark 10:13-16

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. Mark 10:13-16

 

If you are older than 50, the odds are very good that the church of your childhood had a picture on a wall of Jesus in a garden setting, standing in the doorway before a door that had no handle.  Equally likely, there was another picture of a smiling Jesus holding children on his lap.

 

I am convinced that there is tremendous power in this image of Jesus – the One who took children on his lap, took them up in his arms, laid hands on them and blessed them – precisely because there will always be that little child in us who still needs to be loved, to be nurtured, to be hugged, to be valued.  When we see this Jesus, even in our minds, meditating on this image, we find comfort available no other place.  And it remains freely available to us and that is a good thing.

 

Obviously we will never have the opportunity to hear the writer of the gospel of Mark being interviewed on public radio so we will never know the answer to this question…but this is one of the questions I would ask:  “Tell us, did you put these verses of Jesus welcoming children to himself immediately after talking about divorce on purpose or was that a later editorial accident?

 

I’m thinking these verses are put exactly where they are on purpose.  For children, as much as we extol their childlike virtues and helicopter our lives around them and tell ourselves how important they are, will ever remain weak, powerless, and vulnerable to the decisions and behaviors of the adults in their lives.

 

So I see this image of Jesus welcoming children – and the stern and plainly irritated and all too full of themselves disciples standing behind them – and I’m seeing the pain that is all too often inflicted on children.

 

Children losing their families and childhoods as they are caught up in the childishness of their divorcing parents.  Children, inconsolable, even as their parents do everything in their power to be there for them and with them.  Children victimized by pedophiles, even those leveraging the power they have as family friends, religious leaders, coaches, teachers.

 

Children dying of malaria.  Children, hungry because the rebel troops won’t allow the food aid to pass to the refugee camps.  Children in substandard schools because they happen to be born to parents living in the wrong zip code, or the wrong corner of a zip code.

 

This list could go on and on and on.  We look back at our own lives and we look around at the world and we see, through the eyes of the children we once were, the children we now love, the children under our sphere of influence, and we see sin both as victims and victimizers.

 

And we crawl up on Jesus’ lap for comfort.  He smiles at us.  He makes room for us.  He helps us up.  Wiggles a little so we’re more comfortable.  He gives us that time and we realize that we have never ever been so deeply loved, valued and treasured.  No matter who we are, where we’re from, what we’ve done.

 

Jesus knows us and loves us.  He holds us until we feel just a little better.  Then he sets us down and tells us to go play nicely with others.  And we go, not so far as to get out of his sight, but we go.

 

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, thank you for making time in your life for children.  Thank you for the parents who loved us as well as they could, no matter what happened to them or to us along the way.  We pray today for adults who long for the parents they will never see again on this side.  We pray for children, that every child might receive just enough of what they need in life to flourish and develop into the people you have created them to be.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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One Response to “Friday, June 1st. Mark 10:13-16”

  1. Judy Says:

    Thank you, Pastor Kerry, for taking the time to send out these messages to us. They help me to focus my life on the pathway Jesus wants me to follow..

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