Archive for June, 2020

Mark 10:46-52

June 12, 2020

They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

Jesus stood still and said, “Call him here.” And they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take heart; get up, he is calling you.” So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus.

Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said to him, “My teacher, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way. Mark 10:46-52

What do you want Jesus to do for you? What do you ask for when you pray?

The story says “Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

60,000 people gathered in downtown Houston last week. Their gathering echoed others all over the country. They gathered as a visible sign of the invisible poison that clogs the heart of American idealism. They gathered to protest the blindness of a country where far too many are blind and far too many refuse to see. They gathered in the memory of the needless death of a man whose family will never see him again.

This month we commemorate the murders of nine children of God gathered for a Bible study. They were killed by a young man who they welcomed into their study, not knowing that the hate in his heart would flow through the gun that he brought to kill them all. Less than a month later, after 54 years of spitting on the African American citizens of South Carolina, the treasonous confederate flag was removed from their state house.

This week, the dirt still fresh over George Floyd’s grave, comes the news that the highest levels of the military were considering changing the names of ten military installations all named in honor of confederate soldiers until our duly elected president publicly shut the idea down. None are as blind as those who refuse to see.

The local high school in my neighborhood was named after Confederate general Robert E. Lee. It is now called Wisdom High School. Given that only 8% of high school students in the Houston school district are white – this is what white flight looks like in real time – it was the right thing to do. It was a change that meant something to the students at Wisdom given that its student body is 95% non-white. Does school segregation still exist? You would have to be blind to miss it.

The crowd told Bartimaeus to shut his mouth. To them, he was a distraction. He was making a scene. Jesus heard Bartimaeus’ cries above the crowd because Jesus’ ears were always open to the cries of the distressed, possessed, and oppressed, stopped in his tracks. “Call him here.” Jesus wanted to help him see.

Bartimaeus knew exactly what he wanted from Jesus. He knew exactly what he prayed for. “My teacher, let me see again.”

The utter blindness to racism that rages across our country will never lift until those who cannot see, and those who refuse to see, join in Bartimaeus’ prayer. A new day will dawn when white people cry out “Let Me See” with the same passion and resolve as black people crying out “Let Me Breathe” – no matter how many others in the crowd tell them to shut their mouths.

Let us pray: Healer of the nations, healer of the universe, heal us from the inside out. That our eyes might truly see as yours. That our ears might be as finely tuned to the cries of the oppressed as yours. Do spiritual surgery on us that we might join you in your mission of healing and love for all. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


Mark 10:35-45

June 11, 2020

James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him and said to him, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you.” And he said to them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” And they said to him, “Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory.” But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” They replied, “We are able.”

Then Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

When the ten heard this, they began to be angry with James and John. So Jesus called them and said to them, ‘You know that among the Gentiles those whom they recognize as their rulers lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. But it is not so among you; but whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.’” Mark 10:35-45

This is a great text on leadership. It begins with the sort of question that we might think…but that we usually know better than to ask. James and John think about leadership as a positional issue. They think about leadership coming from the “top down.” Very common. Very human. Very much in line with the ways of the world. So they assume the role of pushy apple polishers and ask to be moved up to the front of the line.

We all know the type. We might be the type. Seeing it in print reveals how inappropriate their request is. Not surprisingly, when the writer of Matthew saw this text, he didn’t seem to like it much. Neither did the rest of the disciples. So Matthew changed it. Look how Matthew tells the story:

Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, and kneeling before him, she asked a favor of him. And he said to her, ‘What do you want?’ She said to him, ‘Declare that these two sons of mine will sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.’ (Matthew 20:20-21)

Do you notice what Matthew did? Not only did he turn the mother of James and John into a domineering stage mother, he took the heat off the impertinence of James and John. Matthew never wants the disciples to look bad. But he misses the point. It isn’t the impoliteness of the request that Jesus responds to, it is their assumption about how leadership works.

Jesus – who knows that he too serves under another authority – it is not mine to grant – helps James and John know that true leadership comes from the bottom up. It comes from a place of loving our neighbor. It comes from a place of servanthood. It is different than the “my way or the highway”, “do what I say, or else!” leadership styles so common in life.

Jesus leads by example. He walks his talk. He links leadership to humility before honor, serving before being served. He sees leadership as paying the price rather than rising in place, or getting a raise or seeking some praise. He is willing to pay that price – giving his life as a ransom for many.

And Jesus knows, as one day James and John would find out, that God’s mission in the world will always be driven forward by the selflessness, the self-giving love, exemplified in the lives of those who choose to follow Jesus. As the song says, “They will know we are Christians by our love.”

Let us pray: Dear Lord, we all have other people in our lives who count on us. We all have areas where we lead, and areas where we follow. Help us always approach our lives as servants, seeking always the willingness to assume our responsibilities rather than asserting our privileges. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Mark 10:28-34

June 10, 2020

Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them; they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid.

He took the twelve aside again and began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death; then they will hand him over to the Gentiles; they will mock him, and spit upon him, and flog him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise again.” Mark 10:28-34

What’s in it for me?” Isn’t that the way of the world? Isn’t that the basis for all marketing? Tell them what they don’t have. Tell them how much better their life will be if only they had it. Tell them that you have what they want. Give them what they want. You can even make them pay a premium price if you can convince them you’re giving them a premium product. One that stands out. One that people will notice. You’re IN!

We breathe it all in. We are surrounded by such messaging. We’ve internalized it. This is the system which has gone by many different names through history. It stretches all the way back to the initial promise of the land flowing with milk and honey (once you get rid of the Caanites.)

Peter has it. We all have it. “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” As if what he left behind, the tedious life of a fisherman living at a bare subsistence level of survival, was all that great to begin with.

Even Jesus plays the game. You’re going to get a HUNDREDFOLD! It is going to pay off! Now and for all eternity! There’s the promise…but do note the twist.

Fields with persecutions. Condemn him to death. Mock him. Spit upon him. Flog him. Kill him. Some were amazed. Some were afraid. There were good reasons for both.

Notice that Jesus shared the description of his future suffering privately to only his closest disciples. Tomorrow we’ll see how they respond. For today, let’s close with a simple question.

Where did we get the idea that the Christian faith is designed for our comfort, designed to make our life easier, designed to reward us? We certainly didn’t see that in Jesus.

Remember the words of Psalm 37:4, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” The promise there is NOT he will give you everything your heart desires. The promise is that God will change what you desire in the first place. Even if that means fields with persecutions.

THAT is a word for grown up disciples.

Let us pray: Jesus, we are always attracted to short cuts, easy way outs, the newest shiny things. We pray so often that you take around the obstacles of life but, again and again, you promise only to lead us through. May we welcome you, trust in you, and follow you on your terms rather than our own. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

June 9, 2020

Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.” Mark 10:23-27

Understanding, appreciating, and most importantly, appropriating this passage begins with the question, “What does Jesus mean by the kingdom of God?” My guess is that the vast majority of people skip over the word kingdom and, in their minds, jump right off the page to their idea of  heaven. This view remains stuck at the level of the previous passage, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”

The problem with that is that leads us to think of the kingdom of God in spatial terms rather than relational terms. This misses the deeper point.

First century Christians knew nothing about modern democracy but they were as familiar with the concept of “kingdoms” as we today are familiar with “nations”. Kingdoms then, and nations now, are human constructs. They are ways of organizing our common life. They come and they go. They rise and they fall. They are accidents of history. They, like the borders between them, are created by people, not by God.

But, far too often, that reality is forgotten.

In Jesus’ day, that meant that a leader like Caesar was not just a political leader, he was pontifex maximus, the head of the Roman imperial religion. From there it was just a hop, skip, and jump to declaring himself divine. Which he did. Do you see the problem with that?

We should always be very wary of earthly leaders assuming any version of the divine right of kings. Of co-opting religion for political purposes. As the old saying goes, “Power corrupts, and absolute power…is kinda nice….” Do you see the problem with that?

When Jesus speaks of the kingdom of God or the kingdom of heaven, he isn’t speaking in oppositional terms. That is, he doesn’t offer himself as a new king in opposition to earthly kings or earthly kingdoms as if people have to choose one or the other – he speaks of the reality beneath the reality. He speaks in subversive terms. He isn’t going to attack the castle walls, he is going to remove the ground on which the castle sits.

The question isn’t “Will you serve Caesar?”, it is “How will you serve Caesar?” The recognition that we take our marching orders from God means that sometimes we toe Caesar’s line and sometimes we step on Caesar’s toes. Remember how Jesus taught that lesson using one of Caesar’s coins?

Finally, we know that it is very rare, if not impossible, for any but the wealthy to attain positions of power and influence. Whatever human governance structure is in place, wealth either props it up or brings it down. Wealth is never an end in itself, it is always a means to an end. Wealth gets its way – and in that – wealth gets in the way.

Unless we ask the right question. “Good Teacher, I have many possessions. How can I best use them to love my neighbor?

Let us pray: Dear Lord, we too have many possessions. As Americans, we live in the wealthiest place in the world. May we never forget how dangerous that is. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Mark 10:17-22

June 8, 2020

As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’”

He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.”

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions. Mark 10:17-22

This is such an interesting exchange – a man asks Jesus the second most common question anyone would ask a spiritual teacher (#1 is “Why do bad things happen to good people?”) and Jesus ultimately gives the most difficult, most challenging, answer of all. Get rid of all your stuff. It is getting in the way. Then come and follow me.

Why would wealth get in the way of someone’s spirituality? Martin Luther’s answer remains the simplest explanation of all. From The Large Catechism:

A god is that to which we look for all good and where we resort for help in every time of need; to have a god is simply to trust and believe in one with our whole heart. As I have often said, the confidence and faith of the heart alone make both God and an idol. If your faith and confidence are right, then likewise your God is the true God. On the other hand, if your confidence is false, if it is wrong, then you have not the true God. For the two, faith and God, have inevitable connection. Now, I say, whatever your heart clings to and confides in, that is really your God.”

That would be a personal answer – but there is also a broader, more communal answer – wealth has the capacity to divide us, dehumanize us, and deceive us. Wealth, possibly more than anything else, makes it more difficult to love our neighbor. We look and judge our neighbor based not on who he or she IS or what he or she DOES but on what he or she HAS.

Notice the commandments that Jesus lists. He skips the first three about our relationship with God. The ones he does list are those directing us how to love our neighbor. Not surprisingly, those sins most often connected to the acquisition and the protection of wealth. And he covers covetousness – the sin most closely linked with the power of wealth to spiritually sicken us – with his challenge to the man to get rid of the stuff that is getting in the way.

We always also notice – and are always surprised (and relieved) – that it says “Jesus, looking at him, loved him…” Why ought that surprise us? Do you think God doesn’t love rich people? Jesus loved him because Jesus loves everyone. But what a difference it would make if we would start our theology with that rather than falling back on it to justify ourselves.

Maybe then the man’s question would be “Good Teacher, I have many possessions. How can I best use them to love my neighbor?” which is a very different question than the one he asks.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, you invite us to pray for our daily bread. You invite us to live one day at a time. But we want so much more and often lose ourselves in our stuff. Open our hearts to ourselves, that we might see what truly drives us, what truly drives us apart. That we might see the love which can alone bring healing. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Mark 10:13-16

June 4, 2020

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 these verses are giving you a bit of déjà vu it is because this is the second time in two chapters that Jesus reached for children to make his point. In the 9th chapter it comes on the heels of his teaching about servant leadership. Here, it follows his teaching on divorce.

The disciples don’t like it. They don’t want to be interrupted. Which also might mean that they are not really open to being challenged or taught by Jesus. But Jesus steams ahead anyway.

As I said yesterday, absent a home full of violence and abuse, the impact of divorce on the lives of children is profound. There is no escaping that or pretending it away. I have no doubt that “What about the children?” enters into the thinking of any parent contemplating a divorce. That is a good thing. It means that the parents will be open to talking, reassuring, partnering, and seeking professional help where it is needed.

But that is certainly not the only time when the question “What about the children?” is vital.

The story says that people were bringing little children to Jesus so that he might bless them. We don’t know what that was about other than a sign that those parents wanted the very best for their children – which could very well include the blessing of a holy man. We all want the very best for our children, don’t we?

In these turbulent days in which we live I am particularly mindful of the ongoing effects of the coronavirus and all that we are seeing and hearing in the aftermath of the tragic murder of George Floyd. These mark both fresh trauma and deep-seated long-term trauma. We are seeing how people react – commonly they resort to fight, flight, or freeze. They lash out. They blame and deny. They get stuck in shock. We are seeing this all around us.

Increasingly I’m wondering how the lingering effects of childhood and parenting bear out in issues like systemic racism. Children aren’t both with an innate knowledge of the social constructs around skin color or the other things that differentiate people. How do they learn? By observation. Chance comments. Emotionally charged statements. What people find humorous. How parents react in different environments. What they see on TV. What they discover on the internet. Children pick up on all of that.

Sometimes children adopt the worldviews of their parents. They usually get rewarded for that. And sometimes children react against the worldviews of their parents. This creates conflict. It sometimes leads to an even deeper level of trauma. Again – fight, flight, or freeze. It takes an awful lot of work, education, and life experience to grow beyond the patterns instilled in childhood.

No wonder Jesus picked up the children and blessed them even if it bugged the disciples. Let those with ears, hear.

Let us pray: Be with us, Lord, as we come to terms with how deeply impacted our lives have been, for good and ill, from the experiences of our childhoods. No one comes out unmarked, even wounded. Help us grow. Help us heal. Help us always consider what is best for children. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Mark 10:1-12

June 3, 2020

He left that place and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan. And crowds again gathered around him; and, as was his custom, he again taught them.

Some 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. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Then in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.” Mark 10:1-12

A literal reading of this text says that my wife and I have been living in an adulterous relationship for the past 12 years. Both of us have been previously divorced. We’re not proud of that. Frankly, for both of us, there is an element of guilt, shame, and regret that we will live with for the rest of our lives. We have complicated the lives of our children and grandchildren. Yet it wasn’t all bad. Their stepparents have enriched their lives. We do the best we can to learn from our pasts as we live and build our future together. Life is messy. This passage makes us mindful that divorce cuts much deeper than a legal proceeding to end a marriage contract. It humbles us.

But I don’t really think that this passage is simply about divorce. It too seeks to cut much deeper. It isn’t about real human beings finding their way through life. It is about the Pharisees trying to test Jesus, to trick Jesus, and to divide Jesus from those who would follow him. What better divisive topic to choose than divorce?

Jesus’ culture was absolutely patriarchal. All the rules were set up to benefit men and subjugate women. Divorce was easy for men. You don’t like your wife for any reason at all? Kick her out of your tent. Send her back to her family. Note it on a piece of paper and she is hung out to dry while you go and buy yourself another wife that might be more pleasing to you. That is how it worked.

Jesus knows that so he turns their test back on them. “For your hardness of heart” he says. For your stubborn refusal to admit your fault. Your closemindedness to the errors of your ways. Your devotion to twisting life to your own selfish ends. All of that and more is what hardness of hearts is all about and the Pharisees are vivid examples of it.

Jesus’ response is also a call to justice rooted in the oldest of stories. It is his attack on the systemic oppression of women and the dark side of patriarchy. Today divorce remains widespread. Half of all first marriages end in divorce. Divorce laws today are much fairer, much more focused on the good of the children. Yes, everything can be made much more difficult when driven by greed or resentment. Laws can be twisted toward injustice. But even something as difficult as divorce can be redeemed.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, draw near to people who share their lives together in marriage, to those preparing for marriage, to those struggling with the possibility of divorce, and to those ever-healing from the pain of divorce. May your grace abound and your guidance be present. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Mark 9:38-50

June 2, 2020

John said to him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not stop him; for no one who does a deed of power in my name will be able soon afterward to speak evil of me. Whoever is not against us is for us. For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.

“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.

“For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” Mark 9:38-50

For far too many years, my focus on the faith was one of finding all the ways that Christianity was right and good for the world, over against other world religions that were wrong and not good for the world. Such a way of looking at things was a simplistic, over-generalized, setting up of easily knocked down straw men. I wasn’t alone. It seemed that everyone thought that way.

How did we get there?

Jesus had plenty of room in his imagination for people who blessed and served others without checking their tribal identity at the door. How was that so easily left behind in the forward march of the Christian faith from a beleaguered minority dedicated to love of God and love of neighbor to an official apologizer for the Empire?

By the way, that didn’t end in the dusty bins of history. There are still corners of the Christian movement that bask in the glow of official governmental and cultural sanction. Such corners rejoice at the picture of the President of the United States holding a Bible in front of the sign for an Episcopal church. Is there any consideration in that for how a Jewish or Muslim or Hindu or agnostic or atheist American citizen feel in seeing that picture? Not to mention that every religious community is now suffering in an age when we are all cut off from the most meaningful thing we do – gathering together for worship.

People of all faiths and no faiths are suffering the face of the current social unrest. Quite likely people of all faiths and no faith were among those hit with tear gas to clear a path for that picture to be taken. A picture that is about as close as this president gets to actually reading a Bible or entering a church door.

Jesus says that “salt that has lost its saltiness” is no longer good salt. His words of warning are not addressed to an unbelieving world but to disciples who are so inwardly-focused and self-righteous that they are blind to God’s loving movement in the world. They can’t see beyond their own noses and their own privileged status as “Jesus insiders.” A thirsty person receiving a cup of cold water doesn’t care about the tribal identity of the hand that brought it to her.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, bless those who bless others with care, with humble service, with open hearts, open minds, and grace. May we follow in your footsteps of love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Mark 9:30-37

June 1, 2020

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him.

Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest.

He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” Mark 9:30-37

On the way, they were arguing with one another who was the greatest.” Often, if we read the Bible at all, we race through it or we nibble on it. We hear pretty large chunks in church on Sunday that mostly pass without reflection or commentary. Or, in our personal spiritual practice, we read a verse here or a verse there, seeking pithy little nuggets of wisdom that might help us get through life. Or allow us to skip the challenging stuff.

But if we slow down, we might see what we might have otherwise have missed.

It is easy to pick on the disciples for arguing who among them is the greatest. It seems so trivial, so childish, so self-centered. And it is. But slow down and consider the context, consider how Mark frames their argument.

They just left a scene where Jesus healed a young boy after the disciples have proven their own incompetence and inability to do anything for him. They had just heard Jesus describe where his life would lead him – to betrayal, arrest, and death. Not exactly a rosy picture for anyone. And then, after noticing their arguing, Jesus picks up another child and puts her before them as an object lesson of where their concern ought to be. NOT on BEING the greatest BUT on DOING GREAT THINGS for the sake of the most vulnerable, least powerful, people of all.

The world would be a much better place if we took those words to heart. No longer would 25% of American children live in poverty. No longer would 33% of children grow up without a father. No longer would any parent fear a child getting sick when they don’t have the money to pay for their care. No longer would some children be treated differently than others because of the color of their skin or the zip code in which they live.

The world would be a much different place if the first question we ask would always be, “How will this affect children?”

Instead, what do we do? We crow about being the greatest even as we flee from paying the price, and making the sacrifices, that Jesus challenges us to.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, forgive our self-centered and self-interested desires to protect ourselves and our own interests without consideration for the most vulnerable, and least powerful, among us. Keep us ever mindful of children – all children – and what would be best for them. In Jesus’ name. Amen.