I am writing this blog not as a pastor, but as a grandfather. I have eleven grandchildren and one of them is African American. I am concerned for her because there are people who hate her for the color of her skin and have no idea what a wonderful, beautiful child of God she is. The truth is, I am concerned for all my grandchildren. They should not have to see the rise of hate groups in our country. I am concerned for all children who live in a world where fear, hatred, war and tribalism is becoming the norm.
What can I do? How can I protect them? What do I say to them? Should I tell their parents to hide them away? Do I tell them not to go out in public? Do I tell them not to associate with others and to avoid this sinful world?
Elijah tried to hide in a cave out of fear and God called him out and sent him back into the world. God reminded him he was not alone and that there were others just like him who were afraid, but faithful. Saul attacked and persecuted those who he believed where attacking his Jewish faith. Jesus confronted Saul, asking him why he was persecuting him. After Saul realized what he was doing he changed his name to Paul and went out into the world to tell everyone what he could about Jesus.
A former slave trader becomes the writer of the one of the most popular anthems in the catalog of Christian hymns: “Amazing Grace”! He becomes a powerful voice against slavery in England! A former nuclear submarine engineer becomes the president of the United States and is instrumental in a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. However, this man is more highly regarded for his work in building homes for the homeless through Habitat for Humanity.
No, I cannot and will not tell my grandchildren to hide away and avoid the evil in the world! Rather I will tell them what God has called all us to: Peacemakers, Justice Bringers, Light Bearers, Mercy Givers and Grace Sharers. The world needs to know what they know about God’s love for the world. They might want to hide, and as parents and grandparents we want them to be safe. But Jesus tells us about what being Blessed means, that people might persecute, call you names, ridicule you and abuse you, because you proclaim the love of Christ to the world.
So parents and grandparents, like ourselves, pray to God: “Look after our children when we can’t. Guide them when we are not there and protect them when we are not able. Let them know they are loved always! We pray in Jesus name! Amen!”