He took a little child whom he placed among them. Taking the child in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
There isn’t a much more vulnerable image than that of a child. I guess that’s why some people are terrified over the thought of having to hold a newborn baby. I’m not that surprised. They do nothing for themselves. Eat, bathe, burp, almost everything they do requires our help. And as a mother of two Elementary School aged kids, I have to say, not much has changed.
“Mom, I want some water!” “Mom, where’s the paper?” “Mom, I’m hungry!” “Mom, can you help me get my dress?”
I joke a little, but the vulnerability is real. Children require the care and protection of their community. And they don’t even know it! It is up to those around them to see their needs and take care of them.
So why is it so significant that Jesus calls on a child to represent his own image? It is yet again a reminder that as Christians we are called to care for the most vulnerable among us. Jesus says, “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me.” In essence, when we care for the most vulnerable among us, we care for God.
In this season, I have been in awe of the response of those around me. I am grateful to see people choosing the discomfort of Shelter in Place over and above their own desires. I have seen families go without seeing grandparents, students meeting friends via ZOOM, drive-by birthday parties. And all of this in the hopes that we slow down the spread of this virus and give our medical professionals a fighting chance. I have seen people drawing attention to the vulnerability of the incarcerated, who have suffered a much higher infection rate than the outdoor population. I have seen people shut down racist remarks from friends who have attacked our asian brothers and sisters. I have seen the church choose to see and care for the vulnerable in this season.
Church, how have you been called to welcome the “child”? May we continue to welcome and care for the vulnerable in the name of Jesus. Because in doing so we care for God Himself.