2 Feb. 2014 Luke 2:22-40 All Are Our Children
Luke’s words portray a picture of hope, innocence and adult concern for the infant Jesus. This child, Jesus, received a strong start in life through the faithfulness and practices of his parents and others. My children received a strong start in life – loving parents, loving grandparents, god-parents who have been intimately involved in their lives, a congregation that baptized and adopted my two children as their own.
I have watched other parents, equally loving and equally full of faithfulness and practices. Like Simon, my heart hurts as I think about swords piercing the mothers’ souls at some point. In the United States, 1 in 5 children will struggle with hunger. Closer to home, sixteen percent of children under eighteen in Dane County live in poverty - a total of 16,129 children who are likely to be hungry - 75% of whom are African American. 1 in 45 children in the United States will experience homelessness, almost 800 of whom attend the Madison City Schools. Of the 70,000 young children who will be incarcerated, 2305 are young Black children who live in Dane County. Each year 1.2 million children from all over the world will become victims of child trafficking or child slavery with the United States being a top destination – trafficked and enslaved children have been found in all 50 states.
These statistics about this wonderful community in which we live are hard to read since we like to think of Madison as a “child friendly” place. How can we choose to become consciously aware of the reality in which too many of our children live? How can we remember that all of the children in Madison are our children by virtue of their presentation in the Temple? How can we, as individuals, take on the role of “faithful Godparents” to support all of our children - especially our African American children whom Madison treats the most harshly (54% in poverty, 86% not proficient in math by 8th grade, 47% of whom will be arrested)? How can we link arms as a faith community to work together and utilize our common resources to protect and support so hopes and expectations can be realized for their flourishing?