‘Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.’ Luke 18:16.
This is part of the Gospel reading set out for today.
It is a timely reminder of the care we give our children and young people and the nurturing we do of them and their faith.
But consider a moment the story and the context and how it might also speak to our situation today.
Parents were bringing their children to Jesus to be blessed by Him. They clearly understood not only His celebrity status but also His ability to provide divine blessing which normally only the Priests in the temple were able to give. Not only that but they would not have to pay for the privilege but really needed what He was supplying.
But seeing the important work that Jesus was doing, understanding His significance and His standing, the Disciples in their wisdom shoo them away like Christian bouncers and believe in their hearts that they are doing what is right in order for Jesus to continue in His effectiveness.
So the parents are being hurried away by Peter and Andrew and the rest until Jesus steps in to clarify His priorities and the children’s needs.
Now we can’t see in this passage – like when you get a text message or an email and try to guess – the tone of voice or the inclination of His body language. Is He frustrated or cross that someone has made an assumption about His priorities? Is He sighing again because the people He thought knew His ways have got it wrong again? We just don’t know. Either is possible I suppose.
And so He scoops them up, blesses them, uses them as inspiration for all gathered around and sends them home.
His words echo in the reason why education is so important. His actions echo in the need for good safeguarding. His love echoes in our desire to see resilient, independent, skilful, faithful and blessed young people leave our care at the end of a day, week, term or year.
And as we plan for September, we hope that we too will be welcoming all children back safely into our buildings.
We pray that they are safe, well cared for and blessed in their homes until we see them again.
And we look forward to the energy, inspiration, faithfulness and blessing they will bring us as we seek to bless them.
(And that goes for if they are 4 or 14…and even if they are not the easiest for us to bless).
So consider the children and young people today that you will meet, that you have met.
Pray a prayer of blessing over them, their family and their home.
And remember that the kingdom of God belongs to those like them. Amen.
Have a good day.