“People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” Mark 10:13-16
It is difficult to visit Trinity/HOPE school feeding programs in Haiti and not remember this passage in the tenth chapter of Mark when looking at little children, like this young girl from Ouanaminthe. There shouldn’t be a difference between this child and the young children who attend schools in Illinois; Jesus would have taken each of them into His arms and blessed them. The children in Illinois and Haiti are both being prepared to go and share the message of salvation with those who will come along their life’s journey. The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to each of them and to us.
The main difference is the food. Children here in Normal are fed at home and at school. The vast majority of the children attending the Lutheran school in Ouanaminthe don’t get food at home and rely upon the meal at school for their daily manna; thank you for helping to provide for them. Benjamin Schmolck wrote the hymn ‘Dearest Jesus, we are here’ in 1704 and it will close today’s message.
“Dearest Jesus, we are here, gladly Thy command obeying; with this child we now draw near in accord with Thine own saying that to Thee it shall be given as a child and heir of heaven. Yea, Thy word is clear and plain, and we would obey it duly: "He who is not born again, heart and life renewing truly, born of water and the Spirit, can My kingdom not inherit. Therefore hasten we to Thee, in our arms this infant bearing; let us here Thy glory see let this child, Thy mercy sharing, in Thine arms be shielded ever, Thine on earth and Thine forever. Gracious Head, Thy member own; Shepherd, take Thy lamb and feed it; Prince of Peace, make here Thy throne; Way of Life, to heaven lead it; Precious Vine, let nothing sever from Thy side this branch forever. Now into Thy heart we pour prayers that from our hearts proceeded. Our petitions heavenward soar; may our warm desires be heeded! Write the name we now have given, write it in the book of heaven.”
Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.
May God be with you…Jay