Thursday June 21 2018

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Scripture: Matthew 18:10-20

Key verse: (10) “Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven.”

Reflection: Over the past six weeks, children have been pawns in the immigration debates of our nation. Passions have run high in these debates. Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order ending the practice of separating children from their families when they have entered our country illegally. Thanks be to God! While the details of this order have yet to be defined, and while we are a long way from solving the challenges of asylum seekers coming to our nation for protection, I am thankful something has been done to curb this practice.

How might God feel about all this?

Today’s passage from Mathew’s gospel gives us some insight. It continues a discourse Jesus has with the disciples concerning greatness in the kingdom of heaven.  In yesterday’s passage, Jesus placed a child among his disciples and said, “Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”  In today’s passage, Jesus continues the object lesson, warning his disciples not to “despise one of these little ones” as they have great favor from God’s point of view.  In fact, in Luke’s version of this story, Jesus says of children, “for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs.”  (Luke 18:16)

What do these passages tell us about God?  God loves children.  In fact, children are the most favored citizens of God’s kingdom.  While nations of this world are challenged to define immigration policies that are just and humane, there are no immigration debates regarding the place of children in God’s kingdom.  All are welcome.

What does it tell us about who we are called to be in the midst of all this.  We are not to despise any children.  Harming children comes with great consequence from God’s perspective.  God cannot abide by losing even one child, neither should we.

How might this impact us as Christians?  How might it inform our discipleship?  How might it shape the way we think about the children impacted by the present crisis?

One thing is certain: on the chess board that is God’s kingdom, children are never pawns.  They are the most important pieces on the board.

Prayer: Give us your wisdom, O God, that we might see the challenges of our day with your vision and respond faithfully that we might know your kingdom.  Amen.

Author: Joe Clifford

[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].

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