A Label for Care
A Label for Care Mark 9:30-37
Sometimes I think it would be helpful if people could wear warning labels. If someone is in a bad mood and doesn’t really want to engage in conversation it could be helpful if that person had on a “caution” sign so others would watch their approach. Or if a person just does not want a handshake or a hug they could wear a “Do not touch” sign.
The one label we could perhaps all wear is “Fragile: Handle with Care.” Just like this label tells others to be aware of what is inside a package and to be careful with how it is carried, so too could it remind others that we all have vulnerabilities on the inside of us and we need to take care how we talk with and treat each other.
I was thinking about this last week as I was reading our Gospel text for this coming Sunday. It says that the disciples were arguing about who was the greatest. Jesus tells them that whoever wants to be first must be the last and servant of all. Then he took a little child and put it among them; and taking it in his arms, he said to them, “Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”
As I was thinking about what it means to welcome a person like you would welcome a tiny child, the image of the “Fragile: Handle with Care” sticker came to my mind. When we welcome a child, especially a baby, we are often aware of how fragile they are. If a mother were to hand us her child we would be very careful of how we were taking hold of the baby. We would put one hand under the head and be sure not to drop the little one. We would be slow and gentle with the transfer and hold the baby close to us.
What if we approach all ages of people with this same level of care? We obviously would not be literally holding adults, but what if we held their emotions, their thoughts and their feelings with that same level of care? What if when we were welcoming others we looked to care for their soul in a manner similar to how we would physically care for a newborn? Is this what Jesus meant when he said that when we welcome a child it is like we are welcoming him?
-Pastor Erik Goehner