Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Blessing Them

Jesus left that place and went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan. And crowds again gathered around him; and, as was his custom, he again taught them.
Some Pharisees came, and to test him they asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" He answered them, "What did Moses command you?" They said, "Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her." But Jesus said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart he wrote this commandment for you. But from the beginning of creation, 'God made them male and female.' 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one flesh.
People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, "Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it." And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them. Mark 10:1-16
We are all children of a living God, blessed over and over again and loved completely. Sometimes we forget that and choose to think less of some people. We want to extract people from our lives for our convenience and pride. Some of the children of God challenge us, undermine us and frustrate us. Those who hurt, abuse and damage have to be separated for the good of all.  We all have been placed in sacred places, journeying on holy lands, an we are called to care for the innocent, the vulnerable and invited to help them see the blessings of God in their lives.
I have often struggled with this passage from Mark. The contradiction of the judgment about divorce and the blessing of the children. Jesus was in a culture where women were put aside regularly for convenience and the desires of the husband. It was also Jesus who sat and talked with the woman at the well. Jesus lived within a context that bound and bruised the most vulnerable - women and children - and treated them as merchandise. God invites us to be those who defend the most vulnerable, and people who never see others as merchandise or accessories.
Today I ask God to help me reach out to the most vulnerable among us. May we all find blessing in our lives by caring for the least in our midst and by offering them a sense of belonging and hope today.

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