This weeks lectionary readings contain passages that I love and passages I just don’t like reading aloud in church. All scripture needs context. It has taken me years to really come to a place where I enjoy studying the bible. There are so many difficult passages for many reasons – some because they simply were not written for us today in the 21st century, and definitely not written for children.
In Mark chapter 10 this week after a particularly interesting(?) passage on divorce there is the classic “let the children come to Jesus” moment.
Designate boundaries, including a starting line for the runners (I like touching a tree, fence, bench, wall, etc – keeps ’em honest.) Chose one person to be the caller and mark their spot – I normally start. The caller yells green light and runners run towards them, yellow light – walking, red light – freeze! They say the name of anyone who moves during a red light and that person has to go back to start. As a caller I put my hand out and whoever gives me a high five first is the next caller.
After the game: How does this relate to Jesus? The disciples, like the caller, wanted to control who could move closer to Jesus. They didn’t think that children should be brought to Jesus, so they tried to stop them.
In Jesus’s time, children weren’t thought of as very important. That makes me sad. I’m glad today people see how important children are. Jesus was a very important person, so his disciples were trying to help him focus on who they thought were important. That way Jesus’s message of peace and love could spread and make everyone’s lives better. Yet they didn’t understand, Jesus didn’t come to talk to the “important” people – Jesus came to love ALL people.
Even today we can have a hard time with this message. Ask the kids – who are some important people you know at school? at church? in our country? What kinds of things make people seem “important” to other people? There are also people that are thought of as unimportant. What kinds of things make people seem “unimportant”?
What Jesus does here is he shows again how important all people are to him. No matter who they are. In fact, over and over again, Jesus shows his disciples that the people who are considered unimportant – children, widows, the poor, the sick – are the MOST important to Jesus.
Talk with your family this week about how much God loves us, and that no matter what, God always wants us to feel like we can come to God just as the little children in the story did. Then talk about ways that we can try to be good followers of Jesus by caring about the people that are stopped, that have been given a “red” or “yellow” light. (Immigrants, people of color, people who don’t speak English, people with disabilities, LGBTQ friends, and more) What can we do to spread God’s love to them? How do we welcome them in our churches, and in our communities?
God’s peace to you and yours~ Deacon Erin