What Do We Tell the Children

Micah 6:8 (from this week’s family devotional)

“what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?”

Dear parents:

I missed worshiping and praying with you yesterday as I was away at my youngest brother’s wedding. Throughout the weekend, I was checking the news unfolding in Charlottesville fairly often, and I’m guessing some of you were, too.  Again, we have had to ask ourselves, “what do we tell the children.”  Mr. Rodgers’ advice to look for the helpers, which is so often useful in times of disaster and trouble, is a first step. I recommend we also look for God, who was certainly present in the midst of evil, if we know where to look.

The book The Beatitudes: From Slavery to Civil Rights, (which I read in this 4 minute video) can help us find evidence of the just and compassionate God we are yearning for this morning. The book reminds us that throughout the struggle for freedom and civil rights, God is the guiding star, the beating drum, and the shoes of those who walk for freedom.  God is present in the most unlikely of ways.

In the images of Charlottesville, we see God in the mass of clergy linked arm in arm, the open doors of the church which sheltered those in need, in the truth written on the signs of the counter-protesters, in the voices of those around the country who condemn racism and violence, and the light illuminating from the vigil candles held in prayer yesterday. We see God in the people of all ages, colors, nationalities and races who woke up this morning inspired to do at least one small thing to create the kind of world we dream of. The kind of world that Christ calls “the kingdom of God.”

Though the evil racism on display in Charlottesville leaves me sick to my stomach, I remain committed to my baptismal vows “to resist evil, injustice and oppression in whatever form they present themselves.” I have hope for God’s vision of peace, love and justice reigning over all the world.

What do we tell the children? Tell them about our Christian hope for the kingdom of God here on earth. Remind them of the promises made at our baptisms. Read the words of Micah 6:8 in this week’s family devotional. Show them where God is in the face of evil.


Other books I recommend for times like these (all available to lend from my office):

Good People Everywhere by Lynea Gilen

Peace is an Offering by Annette LeBox

Let There Be Light: Poems and Prayers for Repairing the World

I Can Make a Difference: A Treasury to Inspire our Children by Marian Wright Edelman

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