Today’s Gospel lesson, though not a traditional baptismal text, embodies the spirit of the sacrament: the ones bringing the children to Jesus are not necessarily parents; they are “people” moved to care for these little ones. This choice of language leads us to ask, if the adults bringing the children to Jesus are not their parents, then who are they? Why do these men and women stand up to the disciples for the sake of children that are not biologically theirs?
The statistics are clearly in my favor. An overwhelming majority of children adopt the religion of their parents. So I shouldn’t worry. It is highly probable that my son Nathanael will grow up in some sense a Christian.
Despite a mounting body of research showing that high rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births pose serious threats to the well-being of children, mainline Protestantism has had remarkably little to say in recent years about the nature, health and prospects of the family.
There is a veritable feast of recommended books and DVDs in this issue, and I have already circled and clipped several and left them lying in conspicuous places just in case anyone is wondering what to give me for Christmas.
Neil Philip’s Illustrated Book of Myths includes a story the Algonquin Indians tell, titled “Glooskap and the Wasis.” Glooskap, the mightiest warrior of all, returns home after a lengthy period of conquests, only to be defeated by the mighty Wasis, a creature on the floor of his home.
In Mark’s Gospel the antidote for a fixation on power is a little child. In chapter nine, Jesus again shares news of his pending passion with his disciples. They don’t understand and are afraid to ask. Instead they argue among themselves about who is the greatest.
Back before pop diva Lisa Loeb became a household name, she and Elizabeth Mitchell performed together at Brown University. While Mitchell didn’t achieve Loeb’s fame, she possesses no less talent—and on her album for children, You Are My Little Bird (Smithsonian Folk ways), she demonstrates how the simplest music-making can be the most moving.