Pray for the Children
by The Rev. Laird Bryson
March 29 – Palm Sunday – Readings (Morning Prayer): Psalms 24, 29; Zechariah 9:9-12; 1 Timothy 6:12-16. (Evening Prayer): Psalm 103; Zech. 12:9-11, 13:1, 7-9; Matt. 21:12-17
Matthew 21:12-17 contains Matthew’s account of Jesus cleansing the Temple immediately after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. I have always enjoyed reading of the cleansing of the Temple, but this time I was struck by Matthew’s words:
But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, Do You not hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read, ‘Out of the mouths of babes and nursing infants You have perfected praise’?” (21:15-16)
Only Matthew mentions the children in the Temple, and it brought immediately to my mind’s eye two images of our children here at Apostles. The first is when they come back into the service from Sunday School – their excitement and joyful faces as they find their parents and families. The sheer joy of those little reunions! The second image is that of our children dancing at the end of the 11 AM service – no decorum, no modesty, just sheer joy! By all of this, our children cry out praises to our God and Savior! I love it!
Sadly, too many of the children of the world cannot cry out in joy and praise. Too many don’t even survive their mother’s womb. Millions are torn apart, killed and discarded by abortion – having no voice to cry out at all. Too many who do survive to be born do not enjoy the love of family and church. Too many, here and abroad, cry out not in joy but in pain – the pain of hunger, of physical, sexual, verbal and emotional abuse. They are molested, beaten, starved, neglected, and deserted by those who should be caring for them and loving them. Too many children cry out from the grave, killed by drugs, suicide, child slavery, war, and even murder by their own parents. They cry out to all of us to stop the slaughter.
Dear ones in Christ, let us hear their cries. Let us first continue to love and nurture our own children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews, raising them in the knowledge and love of the Lord. But then let us pray for all of the children, and ask God how, specifically, we can help to save them; whether it be to work for the end of abortion, or to sponsor children overseas or in our own country, or to become foster parents or mentors – the options are virtually endless. Our Lord was indignant with His own disciples when they kept the children from Him.(Lk. 18:15-16) May it not be so for us.
Image by Florencia&Pe (used by permission via Creative Commons).