“Anyone who, for the sake of my name, welcomes even a little child like this is welcoming me, and anyone who welcomes me is welcoming not me, but him who sent me as his messenger.”
a welcome of the unheard
is a connecting point
running through a disconnected world
a point in time extending
through planes and dimensions
every injustice perpetuated
disjoints false meanings
perplexed by prejudice
requiring a folding in
to incorporate a new day
to break a sequence of generations
isolates the genius of genes
calling the physical into being
and being redeemed by a new body
in this we face our own mercy
Child abuse, molestation, trafficking, soldiers are common enough that even front page headlines simply bring a resigned, “Oh, my.” The lot of children is not that of innocence.
To welcome a child is to mimic Francis welcoming a leper with an embrace and kiss. To welcome a child with honor for their uniqueness, rather than their extension of ourself, is still the work of every parent. To welcome a child is the joy of grandparenting and godparenting.
Not welcoming perpetuates our original mistrust and repeated betrayals. Not welcoming identifies where we miss our mark. In everyday language removed from its pseudo-religious context, not welcoming is the clearest example of “original sin”.
Myers121 notes a helpful source: Christy Swanson’s “Breaking the Power of the Lie: An Ethic of Just Regard for the Adult Survivor,” in Marie Fortune’s book, Violence in the Family: A Workshop Curriculum. Here a process is outlined for healing: 1) truth-telling, 2) confrontation with the abuser, 2) repentance of the abuser, and 4) forgiveness and reconciliation.
Here Mark has Jesus “elevate the child” (Sabin-284). Betrayed disciples trying to manipulate their way in the world need their betrayed child to be elevated so they can live out a generous and creative center. To address the desired privilege of the disciples there needs to be a reckoning with their inner child that can still be welcomed no matter the harm it has experienced, whether intentional or not. Here it is appropriate to pray and set things right.