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Monday, September 5, 2016

Today’s Reading | Luke 9:46–48   

An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest. But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.” (NRSV)

Fourth Church hosts a Vacation Bible School (VBS) for children in preschool through fifth grade for one week each August. For the past three years, I have had the privilege of sitting at a table near the reception area to greet these children each morning as they walk through the door and say good-bye as they leave each afternoon.

While I take pride in being able to learn most of the names of the VBS attendees by the end of the week, I also enjoy volunteering because I get to witness the changing reactions of the kids as they come in—and how these reactions change over the course of the week. I’ve seen children walk through the door, sit in front of the desk, and howl with tears streaming down their cheeks because they are too nervous or scared to join the group, while their parents or guardians watch, embarrassed. By Friday, those same children will run through the door in their VBS T-shirts, smiling and waving their arms and bolting into Anderson Hall to join their friends in song. They have opened their minds and hearts to this new experience and let themselves be changed.

This ability of children to display their emotions with such rawness takes a kind of humility, a humility that adults have blotted out in favor of pridefulness and the desire to present themselves as the “greatest.” Children are not afraid to vulnerably love and express themselves purely, without reserve, no matter who is watching—a quality that Jesus no doubt admired, especially in the face of his squabbling disciples.

Jesus demonstrates here that the greatest in God’s kingdom is not the one who climbs over others to achieve success, upholding pride; rather, it is the smallest, the most pure and open and vulnerable, who shall be lifted up.

Lord, help us to be as humble as the smallest of your children, to raise up those in need, to give and receive love purely and without reservation. Amen.

Written by Katie MacKendrick, Editorial Assistant

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