In our daily prayers God was every manner of image and metaphor and meaning, and always, "God the Father." We never ever prayed to "God our Mother." What were women in the economy of God? The answer was only too painful: We were invisible. I had given my life to a God who did not see me, did not include me, did not touch my nature with God's own....Joan Chittister, "Called to Question"

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Welcoming the Child

A reflection on the readings for Proper 20B: Mark 9:30-37 By Janine Goodwin

They went on from there and passed through Galilee. He did not want anyone to know it; for he was teaching his disciples, saying to them, “The Son of Man is to be betrayed into human hands, and they will kill him, and three days after being killed, he will rise again.” But they did not understand what he was saying and were afraid to ask him. 

Then they came to Capernaum; and when he was in the house he asked them, “What were you arguing about on the way?” But they were silent, for on the way they had argued with one another who was the greatest. He sat down, called the twelve, and said to them, “Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all.” Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.” 

Welcoming the child

Welcome not the sentimental idea of the child, but the real child:

yes, the wanted and loved child
who can nevertheless be difficult enough,

and also

the child who was not wanted
who was fed drugs or alcohol or both in the womb
the child who is not loved
the child who is beaten
or used
or worked beyond her years
the child who is trafficked
or simply abandoned
the child who, because of all these things,
is angry
is frightened
is not able to trust
whose creativity has turned toward hurting others
or hurting himself

or the child who is disabled,
who will not live out anyone's dreams of achievement
whose future depends
on a safety net
that thins and tears year by year

the child who is not fed
who is not clothed
who is not housed
who is not healed

do we welcome that child?

Do we work to give that child what he needs?
Do we treat her as though we welcomed Jesus through her?

Dare we be last, and servant of all,
and the follower of the one who knows
that his love will lead him
to be killed
by the powers that be?

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