Reflecting on Mark 9: 36-37
It was even more dangerous to be a child in the ancient world than it is today. The infant mortality rate was huge, and if you made it to your first birthday you still had to survive the many calamities that still plague children today. Think back on your own childhood. What accidents or illnesses might have proved fatal without modern medicine?
In times of food scarcity children were the last to be fed―first the boys, and, finally, the girls. In some Middle Eastern cultures, children were sacrificed to the gods in order to ensure good harvests, and rain. That little child whom Jesus called over had already beaten the odds a million times.
It was the very low economic and social status of children that Jesus was pointing out to his disciples. Here’s this child, he seems to say. Take a good look. When you serve a child, you serve me. That must have been incomprehensible to those who had followed Jesus for hundreds of miles, in deserts and on lakes, because of his great charisma and warmth. He had much higher status than a child, didn’t he?
If you’re like me, I’ll bet your friends are popular, attractive, accomplished. As I survey my own “contacts,” I have to honestly admit that I don’t have any friends who have severe mental challenges. I don’t have any friends who are in prison, or who live on the street.
It’s not that I haven’t had the time to make these friends. I somehow found the time, after all, to cultivate the friends I have. Notice the ones you never notice, says Jesus. There I am, in the midst of them.
Who is the person you’ve been trying not to notice?
Kathy McGovern ©2018