Family Ministries Blog

All Saints' Episcopal Church in Lakeland, Florida provides this forum as an exploration of family life with an emphasis on parenting, children, and teens. We hope that you will join our conversation and visit our children & youth ministries.

The Innocence of Children

Matthew 18:2-5

 

And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

I was ringing the Salvation Army bell as a volunteer for our church this week and found that I had much time for reflection since I was there without companionship. As I set in for my duties, I found that there was a steady flow of walking traffic in and out of the store, but rarely did people make eye contact or even acknowledge my existence, let alone contribute to the cause. Patrons were quickly walking by, or avoiding my area, and store employees who were working the carts in the parking lot managed to continue to pass by me without looking my way or saying a word. I saw at least 8 store employees and only 2 willingly made eye contact to greet me and a third employee was willing to respond and then look my way when I said hello. I started to get to the point of counting how many people would pass by without looking before someone would make eye contact and say hello. It was a pitiful percentage. I had strong conviction that I was standing there in the image of God with Christ's presence in me (John 15) and people were simply walking by and denying Jesus. I wondered if John the Baptist felt that way as one crying in the wilderness. 

Now I don't say all of this to accuse anyone in particular of not giving or not saying hello, but I offer it as a commentary on our society. Here was the interesting and bright light of the shift...I saw a handful of children during my midday shift and each one looked my way, made eye contact, and we connected in ways that were innocent and pure. They were moments of awe and joy and wonder. I felt like each one was saying, "that's a nice lady" and "she must be doing something important and good." They were super precious moments. Two of the children were given coins to put in the bucket and instead of just being satisfied with themselves for doing that activity, they stopped to look up at me and to receive a word of gratitude and kindness. I was reminded of the scripture verses shared above about coming to God's kingdom like children. It was so evident as I ministered yesterday. Thanks be to God for the gift of innocence, wonder, and humility that those children demonstrated toward me. May it continue to be an inspiration and provide meaning for this season... 

Our Calling, God Has Called Us
"Let it be to me": Welcoming God

Scripture Readings for Sunday, October 1

First Lesson Exodus 17:1-7
Psalm Psalm 25:1-8
Second Lesson Philippians 2:1-13
The Holy Gospel Matthew 21:23-32

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