Journey to the Cross
Wednesday, March 9
Rev. Chris Pritchett, Senior Pastor, John Knox Presbyterian Church in Seattle, WA
Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven. What do you think? If a shepherd has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost. - Matthew 18:10-14
Jesus seems to be big on innocence. After all, he is the innocent lamb of God, slaughtered on the cross. Perhaps this is why Jesus, on a number of occasions, embraces the innocent and speaks harshly to those who might lead them into danger. When I think about my children, as well as the children of our church, it pains me to know that they will face the world and be exposed to all of its evil and present darkness. Before those days come, what they need from me (and from the church) is to help them cultivate a spirit of joy, purity, innocent laughter, and hopefulness. They need a vision of heaven on earth first. This vision will be a deep well from which they will draw living water when they are old enough to be called as light in the darkness.
One of the church's primary functions is to nurture its young and to protect their innocence. Life will happen. We can be sure of that. And yes, as Christians, we are called to enter the broken places as healing agents. But we must make every effort to be the guardians of our children in the way of Jesus Christ. We must give them a vision of heaven on earth. We must provide a safe place where they experience love and joy, unity and gentleness. This is how we protect the faith, by passing it from generation to generation.
Make a list of several children - your own children or grandchildren, plus children of the church. Pray for each of them by name, giving thanks to God for them, and asking God to equip you to help them foster a spirit of joy and innocence.