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?
In Jesus’ day—as in ours--redefining the family is a provocative act with far-reaching social, political, moral and spiritual implications. If we were to isolate Jesus in Mark 3 from the moments in the other gospels in which Jesus interacts with his family, we might conclude this story with George Aichele’s sharply worded assertion, “Mark’s Jesus is no supporter of family values!”
Metaphor is essential to grasping the divine/human character
of God. Nowhere is metaphor used more compellingly than by the apostle Paul,
especially in his use of the word "adoption" as a metaphor for God's
I remember myself as an insomniac nine-year-old, lying sleepless in bed after my parents had turned out the lights. In those self-centered, introspective days of childhood, I hardly believed in the reality of the present. How could anything really happen? I wondered. Reality didn’t seem real until it was past, when I could turn it over in my memory and find the meaning of it.
How do you learn to think about the long-range implications of issues in a culture that is fixated on the short term? This question kept recurring to me in the midst of very different conversations recently.
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.