The memory is clear. I can still see our first born walking into her first day of kindergarten. I wore sunglasses thinking they would disguise the tears that I desperately tried to contain.
But nothing could hid the reality that she was now a part of the larger world to be loved and judged, confused and challenged, hurt and hugged. Her world and the whole family’s world dramatically changed that day. There is hardly anything more important that knowing that children have safe places where they will be loved and respected by the world outside their immediate families.
As adults as we begin the usual busy fall schedules it is a good idea to pause a moment and remind ourselves why we do what we do and what is important to us.
Jesus asked us to love our neighbors as ourselves. He asked us welcome the stranger, feed the poor, release the captives. What does that mean for us today in the midst of all the chaos and hurt in our world? These are risky requests. These aren’t safe places.
Yet, we want to know that our lives matter for something beyond ourselves. We want to feel like we can contribute to a greater good.
Just like a kindergartner on the first day of school, aren’t we asked to be in the world where we will be both judged and loved, confused and challenged, hurt and hugged?
Our young children need to know they are safe. Jesus modeled that as he welcomed the children to be safe by him at a time in history when a child was not safe in the larger world.
However, our safely releases us to go into the “unsafe” world to work together and give of ourselves.
Pastors lead us there. God provides care for us there. May we go out and bring safety and hope to help heal the wounds of our world.
Rev. Jolene Bergstrom Carlson