Across the Pastor’s Desk: Love and safeguard our children

Published 7:57 pm Thursday, December 27, 2018

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Mark Boorsma

Mark Boorsma


On the fourth day of Christmas — Dec. 28— the church remembers “the Holy Innocents, Martyrs.”  These were the innocent children in and around Bethlehem whom an insecure megalomaniac ordered slaughtered.  You can find his not-very-Christmassy story in Matthew 2:16-18.  Better yet, read the whole second chapter.

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That human cruelty and stupidity cause grave collateral damage to children is not new, but it is never to be ignored or tolerated.

At the funeral of a good friend some years ago, the pastor recalled this kind woman’s lifelong care for children.  Having never had children of her own, it was as if she simply decided they were all hers — everyone and everywhere.  Directing our attention to a stained glass window depicting Jesus welcoming children, the pastor pointed out that adult faces were also shown— observing, supervising, and encouraging.  “She is there,” the pastor said of our friend, “watching and caring for all the children Jesus loves.”

The dark story of the holy innocents also reminds us that the holy family became refugees— fleeing afar in an effort to keep little Jesus safe.  Further, it reminds us that this sad tale still plays out today, in Yemen, Central America, Syria, Albert Lea, and hundreds of places, too many to name.  Who looks out for the children?   

We feel a deep and justifiable anger when children are harmed by the very people trusted to keep them safe.  But outrage is not enough.  Prayer, while advisable and good, is not enough.  Mere “thoughts” are worthless.  Vigilance and action make all the difference.

So on this day of holy innocence, may I simply thank you for all you do to safeguard the children and encourage their growth and flourishing.  For your watchful care, for your advocacy and action, your future leaders, caregivers, protectors and defenders will be ever grateful.  Jesus loves them, you know— all the children of the world.

Mark Boorsma is pastor at Ascension Lutheran Church in Albert Lea.