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Lent, Day 18 – Ask God to protect our children from this virus

Today’s reflection comes from Rev’d Willie and today we think of our children, grandchildren, our nephews and nieces and all our young people at school and college who from today will be home 24/7.

Matthew 19:13-15
Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them.
14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” 15 When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there.”

Today is unprecedented in so many ways. Children finishing school for the year with three months still to go! Unheard of and a reminder that we are living in a time of great challenge.

My heart goes out to our little ones, our teenagers and our young families this morning. It seems that even in wartime school was not thwarted, but here, in our super technological age, our schools are closing their doors. This was never in our script, but remember our all-knowing God did know and he remains our constant companion and strength.

As our little ones begin what will probably be 4 to 5 months out of school, there are a mountain of issues that will arise for them. Families will struggle to entertain bored housebound children. Electronic gadgets will eventually lose their appeal and the days will be hard to fill with fruitful and enjoyable activity. There are only so many games of Monopoly you can endure and only so many boxsets you can watch on Amazon or Netflix!

I find myself looking to Jesus to take them in his arms and to bless them.

I see great comfort in the knowledge that children are never overlooked by our Lord. In these few short verses we discover he clearly loved and valued them. He is the same yesterday , today and forever so we are confident our children remain loved and valued by our Lord.

Today I ask us to pray for all the children we know and care about in the Parish and around us in our families, neighbourhoods and communities. Let us offer a prayer to the Lord seeking his protection for them. Pray for their days to be filled with safety, learning and continued growth, as they grow up and learn more about the world.

Simply put, ask God to protect our children from this virus. Please also remember our young families as they juggle and plan around child care, work and the need to stay safe through social distancing isolation in our own homes.

Our little ones are in grief; grieving the loss of socialising with their friends, grieving dreams not fulfilled in their sporting and academic activities and grieving the loss of their freedom and independence. They will miss their friends, their youth organisations and much more. Our children will be in a state of grief but many will not have the language to define it as such. Pray for parents as they encourage their little ones to talk about what they are missing and even to shed a tear to allow their loss and grief to have an expression.

Most of our children know, or sense, something is strangely wrong in their day and many of them will need reassurance and comfort as they struggle with fears and insecurities.

We need to hold them up to the Lord who ‘took them in his arms and blessed them’, so that our little ones know his quiet unseen healing touch. Do not fail our children. Do not fail to pray for them!

Our children will need us more than ever and they need to see our faith at work to sustain and keep us. A family prayer introduced or a night time Bible story read will remind children that God rescues his people and holds them close.

As I read this Bible reading I cannot help but say something about the ‘Kingdom of God belonging to such as these’.

Children have simple faith. They don’t ask the questions we do about and of God. They simply believe His Words as the truth that they are; they trust in God.

They trust with an innocence which is pure and undefiled by sin and they look to God as being totally in control and able to do all the things they ask of him. It is the faith of children we need today. Honest, trusting, certain and assured faith. Doubts are never far from adults concerning the Lord, but not so with children. They are full of faith and trust. What they are told of God they believe and what they hear of God they take to heart. They listen, drink in, receive and believe.

Stop asking God questions or indeed questioning God. These are times for simple trusting faith that reaches out in the sure expectation that God will hear from heaven and that God truly has our backs; this virus can neither thwart nor hinder God in any way.

As children call their father’s daddy as an intimate expression of absolute trust and reliance, let us call God daddy, as Jesus did, when he said “Abba” (meaning father). Jesus used this warm trusting word of his father in prayer. He showed us the simplicity of living faith; it is a father-child relationship. Let us both be and do the we pray:

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and ead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Lord come and bless our children with your protection in body, mind and Spirit. Keep them in your way and guide them in the way everlasting. Through Christ we pray. Amen.

Teach me O Lord to trust you like a child to be the great provider, the great sustainer and the great deliverer you truly are. Grant me the faith of a child. Amen.

‘He took them in his arms and he blessed them’: Lord here are the children of this Parish. Bless them for us Lord with your protection, in the threefold name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Amen. Amen.

Take our children to Jesus to have him touch them and believe, receive and welcome him into your life just like a child.

We are all his children; children of the one heavenly Father. He is the great protector.

I urge you now as schools close to begin to stay in your homes as much as possible for sake of the whole community. For those who must go out to keep our country running please take every precaution necessary to stay safe.

Our Lord says to us personally: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:7).

God bless,

Rev’d Willie.

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