Monday, June 21, 2010

Let them come

Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away. Matthew 19:13-15

I was running a little late for a meeting last night and flustered and overheated, I entered a room where a social hour was going on. A professor from Virginia, from my former diocese, it turns out, stopped me to tell me the story of the first time we met. He was my bishop's chaplain and he had a 3 year old daughter at the time. When all the children came in from Sunday School at the peace, the rector told them to join their parents. His daughter came up to the altar and sat with him, as his wife was away at the time. He was so upset, but remembers clearly that I leaned over and talked with his little daughter, asking her questions about favorite colors, her friends etc. I don't remember the incident but they do, because I did not keep the child away as was their expectation. I learned early on in my life, from my parents and elders, that welcoming a child was welcoming God. And I realized how often in life, no one has welcomed the children, no matter how old they are.

Jesus is confronted by rules and regulations, and holds up a child. The disciples and everyone else wants firm rules about who is out and who is in. Jesus reminds them that to welcome a child is to welcome God, something very counter-cultural in his world, something not done in the religious circles.

Today,I want to remember that our job is to welcome, the smallest and least among us with the same welcome we would afford a dignitary or celebrity. In doing so we welcome God and usher in the family of God. I ask God to make us welcoming in every moment, so that the world might receive the love of God, the welcome of God through our hospitality and need.

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