Paul addresses the children of the congregation. He is writing “to the saints who are at Ephesus” Eph 1:1 and he not only includes the congregation’s children among these saints, he wants to speak with them directly. He knows his letter will be read in Sunday worship, he knows the children will be present, and he wants to have a word with them.
Even in this age of inclusivity, addressing the children in a public assembly would be unusual. Imagine a State of the Union address: “And now to you seven year olds who may be watching….” But in an ancient world that ignored children, Jesus held them in respect. And Paul did likewise.
And yet when Jesus called a child before his disciples and said “…unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven,” Mt 18:3 he had in mind something more important than inclusivity. To our Lord, young children, who owe their existence to their parents and can only live by trusting, are a gift to the whole community, a sign of the way we are called to live before God.
Prayer: Abba Father, give me the faith of a child. Amen
Today’s devotion was written by Gary Blobaum,
Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, in Sumter, SC.