From Jessica Bratt
Below are three of ten short reflections I wrote on the theme “Children and God” which are currently running in the Words of Hope devotional series; you can find them all here (April 16-25).
The Least and The Greatest Among Us
Scripture: Matthew 25:35-40
“Lord, when did we see you?” (v. 37)
On the same August day when 30,000 people attended Rick Perry’s prayer rally in Houston, over 100,000 people crowded into Houston’s convention center for the first-ever back-to-school event, where children and their families received backpacks and school supplies, uniforms, medical and dental checkups, and groceries. By mid-morning the building was filled to capacity and security officials had to turn families away.
Currently, one in every five children in the United States lives in poverty. Of course we need to pray for our country. But we also need to put our prayers into action. Martin Luther once noted that even the everyday, mundane task of caring for children can be one expression of serving “the least of these” (v. 40). Children are not only dependent on caregivers for food, clothing, and shelter but also on communities to advocate for them, to be their voice in the halls of power where decisions are made that will affect their safety, education, and health. Across the globe, vulnerable children are threatened by famine, war, natural disasters, human trafficking, and forced labor. They rely on us to seek justice on their behalf.
Bearing responsibility for children is a daunting but holy task, one that belongs not just to parents but to all of us. Remember that you were once a child too. And remember that Jesus answered the question “who’s the greatest among us?” by taking aside a child and declaring, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me” (Luke 9:48)