Saturday, August 10, 2013

One Such

And they came to Capernaum. And when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you discussing on the way?” But they kept silent, for on the way they had argued with one another about who was the greatest. And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” And he took a child and put him in the midst of them, and taking him in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me, receives not me but him who sent me.” Mark 9:33-37

One of the things I have learned is that no one is ever very far from their vulnerable childhood self. We carry the joys and sorrows of our youth and home life ever with us. Certain sights, sounds and smells can return us to being a small child. And if there were hurts and scars, brokenness and danger when we were children, those things also form the adult we are and keep us from being safe and loving others well.

The disciples were arguing like children about who was first among them. Jesus turns their childishness on them and reminds them that compassion and welcome to the smallest and most vulnerable is the true mark of greatest and leadership. We often worry about childish things - being first in line; being the wealthiest; having the best things; - but forfeit the innocent and the vulnerable among us. God invites us today to enter the heart of the child, the child we once were, and seek to understand how we might respond to the neediest little ones. God invites us to live our lives for the weak and the vulnerable.

Today I ask God to help me remember the vulnerability of childhood and the frailty of our lives. May all our actions today be for the welcoming and caring for the most vulnerable among us. May our wealth be demonstrated in our care for others, our strength in our willingness to be vulnerable and compassionate at all times.

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