May 17, 2016 - Incarnation

Taking a child, he placed it in their midst,
and putting his arms around it, he said to them,
“Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me;
and whoever receives me,
receives not me but the One who sent me.”

Mark 9:36-37

It would be easy to conflate this story with the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew (25:31-46) in which a figure, who we presume is God, walks the Earth in disguise to see who will serve Him and who will not, and then condemns those who fail the test to eternal torture.  More on that later.  But this is a very different story.  We are not told the child is poor, or sick, or in need of anything.  We are not told to feed, heal, educate or otherwise help the child.  We are only to “receive” the child. Jesus does not promise reward if we receive the child or punishment if we fail.  The only message is that when we receive this child, we receive Jesus and receive God.  This is not a description of how to be moral – it is a description of God’s morality.  By becoming one of us, God has granted divine dignity to all of us - even a child who has had no opportunity to earn it.  

Photo: Witchhazel in bloom