Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so;
Little Ones to Him belong;
They are weak, But He is strong.
Jesus loves me! This I know,
As he loved so long ago,
Taking children on His knee,
Saying, “Let them Come to Me.”
Remember this hymn?! It’s so simple…so sweet….so dear… I don’t hear it sung very often, yet when I do it brings back such a good feeling from childhood. I remember Sunday school and Vacation Bible School days when we all would sing that hymn and just wail out the refrain: YES, Jesus loves me! Yes, JESUS loves me! Yes, Jesus loves ME! The Bible tells me so.
What an incredible feeling, as a child, to think that, YES!, Jesus loves ME. And the Bible does tell us so. In three of our Gospels – Matthew, Mark and John, the story is told of mothers who wanted to bring children to Jesus to have him bless them. Sometime later we know that a young boy will bring a few loaves and fished to Jesus and Jesus will feed 5,000. The Disciples had started to turn that boy away too before Jesus rebuked them.
In each of the Gospel versions of the story the Disciples rebuked the women. Rebuked! I looked it up. Rebuke – v. to scold in a sharp way – to force back, n. a sharp reprimand.
Imagine the scene. The mothers who love their children are eager to approach Jesus whom they have heard so much about. He heals the sick, the lame, the blind. Jesus has raised a Centurion’s daughter from the dead and she was not even Jewish!
The Disciples were firm. They told the mothers to go away. They believed they were doing the right thing. After all, Jesus is a busy man… He has more important things to do. But wait! What happens next? Jesus calls the children over to Him. He lets them come and sit on his lap. Jesus blesses each one of the children. He shows his love for each and every one of them. Then he turns to his Disciples and says, “Let the little children come to me! Never send them away! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who have hearts as trusting as these little children’s. And anyone who does not have their kind of faith will never get within the Kingdom’s gates.”
Indeed, that was Jesus’ message all along. God our Heavenly Father loves each and every one of his children – and especially the youngest and most vulnerable of all – the little children. This message may not sound very important to us – we’ve all hear it so many times – but for the Jewish people it was new and radical. In their minds their God, the God of their forefather, was a God of the “group.” The Hebrew, as a group, were God’s chosen people. Here is Jesus saying, “No, you are mistaken…God loves each and every one of you individually – unconditionally – even and especially the children! This is radical!!
As a congregation we are committed to looking for ways and means and places to carry out Jesus’ command to love one another as he has loved us and as God loves us. You are aware that the Deacons have many ministries that are aimed at sharing God’s love by helping others.
We have recently recognized a need and have committed to a Ministry of delivering diapers whenever we can to clients of our Food Pantry with young babies who are struggling to afford clean diapers for the their children. We have become aware that there are parents who, out of necessity, reuse soiled diapers because they simply do not have the means to provide what is needed by their child. The Deacons have been praying and looking for ways to make this ministry more effective and are reaching out to you to help them make this a reality. You can donate online here.
~ Carol Thorne-Gaetani