From The Rector’s Study,
Sunday, June 28th, Pentecost IV, The little ones
Genesis 22:1-14,Psalm 13, Romans 6:12-23, Matthew 10:40-42
When Jesus talks about giving a cup of water to one of the little ones it is obviously about hospitality and giving to those who are weak and in need, but I think it is more than that,
In 1Corinthians 12:12-26 Paul talks about us all being part of the same body.
One Body with Many Members
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.
14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many members, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; 24 whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honour to the inferior member, 25 that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved
If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together with it.
So then what are we to make of Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice his son Isaac?
Or the question, where is God in all this?
The quick response is; even though God asked this, in the end God stopped it and Isaac was not sacrificed. And it brings up the question as a social justice issue, if we have difficulty in the idea of sacrificing our own children and want the best for them, why are we not so upset about the treatment of other people’s children, and not strive for them to have the best as well?
There is an implication, I think, when Jesus uses the term little ones that he understands that there will always be inequality of power, and there will always be little ones in one way or another.
This challenges us in terms of the big picture and our everyday actions, in terms of how we are using our power. The first part is to realize the power and abilities and talents we have. Full stop. Give thanks to God, and no successful person has received the success they have without hard work on their part, but support from others in their family and community around them.
Then ask ourselves how this is going to inform the decisions about how we live our lives, day to day and our treatment of one another and our long-term choices.
And this isn’t just about us and the little ones, as we go back to the beginning of the passage;
Whoever welcomes you welcomes me (Matthew 10:40) and to understand it another way,
Whoever welcomes someone else, welcome Jesus. This reminds me, from Matthew 25:31-46
The Sheep and the Goats, and “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family,(brothers or sisters) you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40
I wonder if the world wouldn’t be a better place if we remembered this and took it seriously.