Monday, September 21, 2009

God's Care for Kids

One of the best parts of my job is the time I get to spend in the Word of God. I've been reading in Mark 9-10, the section of Mark's Gospel that we're reading on Sundays at the end of September and the beginning of October. Beginning with Mark 9:33 (the lectionary reading from last Sunday) there are several references to children. Jesus speaks of children as the ones to welcome, protect, and bring to the Lord.

Children are precious gifts of God. They are signs of God's creative purpose. Children are to be treasured and received with love, whether they're our kids or others. The best, of course, is when there can be strong, loving intact families, where mothers and fathers care for their children. In fact, it's for the good of children that Jesus raised the standards for marriage, reminding the religious leaders of God's intent:
" the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate." (Mark 10:6-9)
In both Matthew and Mark's gospels, Jesus command about marriage is surrounded by concerns for children. Look a few paragraphs before and after Mk 10:1-12 and Matthew 19:1-9. It's no coincidence: because unfaithfulness in sexual intimacy affects family life and children so deeply, God gives special attention to commands focused on sexuality and limits his blessing to heterosexual marriage. Not unrelated to family life are the things Jesus condemns in this section: arguments about who is better than who (Mk 9:33-34), sinning and scandalizing children (Mk 9:42ff) or rejecting them (Mk 10:13-16).

In my opinion, all of this relates so closely to the current discussions around sexual boundaries that we are having in connection with the ELCA.

Perhaps you disagree. If you do, let's continue to talk together--but let's make sure we do so in connection with the inspired Word of God. God's Word is such a treasure--as are the kids we are to care for and raise, teaching them that same Word.

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