The moments when children reach out their hands to share the peace with me or smile as they cup their hands to receive the host at the rail fill me with joy.
They aren’t afraid and I don’t think I’m scary. I remember though, as a child, much as I loved being in church, that God was
very scary. For many people church taught a lesson that said we were mostly wrong and God was going to ...punish us if we didn’t get up and fly right?
Even if some of us had that experience, the Gospel should teach us otherwise. Whenever we are fearful, in the dark of the night, the Gospel message isn’t one of punishment.
It is the sound of Jesus saying, “Do not be afraid, I am here, take heart.”
And then I realized that it does apply as I write this on the morning of July 25. The world is a scary place and there are many
things that are frightening. This past Sunday we offered aprayer for the people of Aurora, Colorado. People who went to a movie to have fun, to enjoy the “ride”; suddenly the world became a horrific place.
But, life and experience hastaught me that God is not to be afraid of - ever. And never had to be there in the first place.
In the worst of times, when I cry “Lord help me,” the hands that hold me and comfort me are the hands of God who has
always loved me. “Do not be afraid, I am here, take heart.”
That is the promise of faith for not only you and me but also for the children we love. If they know they are welcome here, and that they are safe here, that they like it and are happy here, and want to come back here – that is what we are called to do here, and we will be rewarded with their smiles. And we can be grateful to God for that.