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?
One summer when I was a children’s camp counselor at a Presbyterian camp in northern Indiana, I spent long days listening to what we counselors affectionately referred to as nonstop “wubbins questions.”
From the terrace, I can see the work of your fingers: the constellation Perseus, his sword, trailing the sea, fixed against the sky. The masterwork of light which lingers on the surface of the sea transfixes me.
The nightfall has blurred the place where your fingers bind ocean to air. Stepping off the dock, I shiver against the water, unmindful of my face, hushed and pale and unaware. And, who am I—quivering—
that you would give me heed? A moon-jelly ribboning beneath my feet glows faint like a ghost, its green light tangled in the weeds.
Beginning preachers often assume that only after they have built up the
trust of the congregation by assuring them of God's lovingkindness will
they have earned the right to deliver the harder words of scripture.