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Welcome One Such Child

Uncertainty, lack of control, isolation, and an unsettled future is causing a great deal of fear for too many children. Add to these the news of violence and riots — people breaking windows and stealing and screaming — torturous and inexplicable scenes for the innocent eyes of children. Some parents even bring children to witness these riots first-hand. The shooting of a 27-year-old man in Philadelphia recently spawned another similar violent scene. The father of the fallen man pleaded with rioters, "This is where we live, and it's the only community resource we have, and if we take all the resource and burn it down, we don't have anything."[1]

Imagine the child standing, any ethnicity, witnessing the brutality and violent nature of a rioting crowd, seemingly there to right a wrong. This results in a child filled with terror and confusion; a child who becomes robbed of motivation and dreams, replacing them with nightmares. Dr. Brittani James a family medicine doctor in a majority-black hospital in Chicago, asks after every family appointment, "How are you coping with being black in America"?(2) She said "These kids are a vulnerable population...even adults we're seeing are struggling to put into words the racial trauma and deep pain they are experiencing.”[2]

This kind of violence and these unsettling events used to only be found in books and movies that children knew were fiction. Now, the very stores and restaurants that are familiar family sources of entertainment are burning and being looted. It is not a movie set. It is not a comic book. It is not a video game. Dr. James went on to say "instead of images of their future selves doctors and lawyers and policy leaders" children picture their adult selves being drawn into this drama and violence.

Matthew 18:6 implores us to not be part of causing "one of these little ones" to sin. Further, it states that it is better to be hung around the neck by a great millstone and drown in the sea. Where can we, as Christians, begin to protect our young ones? In reference to the recent violence, Reverend Vinnetta Golphin-Wilkerson, of Granger Community Christian Church in West Valley City, Utah asks, "What would Jesus do? Would he grab a sign and square off against police? Write letters to politicians? Say prayers?”[3] Which of these actions call you? What stand can the church take? Do we have the luxury to sit and watch the news, shake our head, and flip the channel? Bishop Mariann Budde, who leads the Episcopal Diocese of Washington DC states "no Christian is called to stay silent when people are suffering." Do children tremble and cry while we offer our heads to the millstone?

The modern church may be rightly criticized, all too often, that programming is inner faced, not engaging with the world outside it’s doors. Let us not be "that church". Let us be the feet and hands of Jesus. Jesus who got those holy feet dirty. Jesus who held "the least of these" in His arms and did not turn them away. Address the fears of all children, everywhere. "And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." Matthew 18:5

Foundations of Truth hereby waives all claim of copyright (economic and moral) in this work and immediately places it in the public domain; it may be used, published, edited, and distributed in any manner whatsoever without any attribution or notice to Foundations of Truth.

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