Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Children & the Kingdom of God

…if we listen to Christian voices in the public square, there is far more passion about unborn children than the well-being of children once they are born.

I heard that bracing, prophetic voice on a Day1 podcast from the Rev. Dr. Barbara Lundblad of Union Theological Seminary in NYC. She was preaching on Mark 9:30-37 where Jesus interacts with children in his hometown…

He sat down and summoned the Twelve. "So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all." He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said, "Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me - God who sent me." (v35-37, The Message) The subject comes up again in Mark 10: "Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom." (v14)

More excerpts from Lundblad’s sermon

Children in Mark are not symbols of holiness or innocence, but more often they are the victims of poverty and disease. Jesus brings the child from the margins into the very center. This child is not a symbol but a person, a little person easily overlooked, often unseen and unheard.

That day in Capernaum Jesus held a little child in his arms and brought the words of heaven down to earth. I can imagine Jesus whispering in the child's ear: "You are God's Beloved Child."

It’s a source of solace and pride that my three adult children work with children and young people. It’s a reason to pray as well...

Lord Christ,

Bless the work of my kids as they work with and for children.

They see the consequences of poverty, family dysfunction, bad choices, developmental gaps and disease.

Support them in their vocations: education, social development and public health.

…with compassion, perseverance, enthusiasm, creativity, wisdom and gracious spirits.

Work through them, Jesus, with your healing touch and trans-formational power.

for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 


My daughter, Lauren, standing before Christo de la Concordia, the world’s largest statue of Jesus, in Cochabamba, Boliva. It’s a lighthearted moment, but a most serious challenge: Imitate Christ.