“Make sure that you do not look down on the little ones, on those who are further behind you on the path of righteousness. For I tell you: they are watched over by those most beloved messengers who are always in the company of my Father in heaven.”
Matthew 18:10 (The Voice)
A Moment to Ponder
Although the above text is not strictly about children, and as such may be applied to anyone lacking that required to fully care for or defend themself, I believe it is for that very reason why in advising against overlooking or worse, causing harm to such a one, Jesus chose a child as a visual demonstration of the fact that defenseless ones are not exempt from the favor of God.
This particular translation gives the impression that contrary to popular belief, vulnerable ones…children, have heavenly beings, known personally to God, who watch over them. It seems almost as if a warning is being issued, one that if not heeded, will have detrimental consequences for those who would hurt or bring harm upon such little ones.
While the objective of this reflection is not to highlight the reality or otherwise of guardian angels, one cannot escape the text’s allusion to the fact that as vulnerable human beings, made in God’s image, hence having divine DNA, children occupy a special place in God’s heart. The text therefore, issues a caution to us as human beings, with respect to the genuineness of our concern and care for each other, especially the vulnerable among us, including children.
The recent murders in Westmoreland, including that of an infant, which drew the lament of seasoned medical workers, backed by national statistics that highlight the systematic abuse of children by adults, speak to a lack of understanding or worse, a denial of our own humanity. This is so because children are connected to the rest of the human family in a way that affirms: if you hinder the progress of one of these; you create mayhem for the whole. The abuse of children therefore, and anyone deemed vulnerable, is tantamount to an abuse of the divine image and a rejection of our humanity.
As the spotlight shines on children throughout the course of this month, let it not be merely for dramatic effect. Let us affirm that because they are integral to the preservation of our shared humanity, we must be intentional in loving, caring for and discipling them. To do otherwise, is to invite the wrath of God, who notes our actions and non-actions and who in Jesus Christ, has shown time and again, His soft heart towards the weak.
A Moment in Prayer
Gracious God, you created humankind in your divine image and in Jesus Christ, took on the limitations of vulnerable humanity to secure our ultimate salvation. Grant to all, especially in this land, minds and hearts to understand and accept the great love you have for all. Help us then to embrace each other, especially those we would consider the least among us, as special to you and therefore, to us.
We pray in particular for our children; may we love and care for them and by our example of godly faithfulness, nourish and nurture them until they and we attain the full stature of Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns One God, in glory everlasting. Amen
Contributed by Canon Georgia ‘Grace’ Jervis