A short while back during our evening prayer time my three year old added to her prayer, " Pease hep the poor, the hunry, the suffing, and the opans in Gagiland..." and my heart swelled with joy. I had not instructed her to pray for the poor, the hungry, the suffering, or the Swaziland orphans. In fact that little fire cracker prays only what she wants to pray for and takes great offense at prayer suggestions. So my joy was the fact that she is hearing our prayers and the prayers of her older sister, to know what at the least we SAY is important in our family.
Claiming that the poor, the hungry, the suffering, and the orphans are important is much easier than living out that commitment. Praying for God's deliverance of these groups on margins is significantly easier than being God's hands and feet to bring His deliverance to the margins. I do not want to create a home where we pray about the God's Kingdom being realized in the least of these. I want to raise my children in a home that participates as citizens in the expansion God's Kingdom to these wretched places.
"Welcome to The Bridge." My daughters shout that with explosive joy on Tuesday nights as we greet the guests of this prodigals return celebration. It is a commitment we have taken intentionally to participate with God, and with our children to befriending and ministering to these people serving in the penal system or caught in the street lifestyle. Going to befriend and participate in worship with these fellow travelers whose struggles are framed and matted for public display creates opportunity to talk about and model Jesus style friendship with the kids.
"Will I die of AIDS?" I am asked by my soon to be seven year old after she hears me tell an audience at the church that a girl under 14 in Swaziland has an 80% chance of dying of AIDS. Our children are well aware we are selling our house, quitting our jobs, and moving our family to care for orphans in this third world country that is burning under the terror of AIDS. She knows soon, she will be a girl under 14 living in Swaziland. She knows that her American reality is ending as we travel to join alongside God's work to these Swazi orphans. We celebrate together as a family how exciting it is to Be Jesus to children with no mommies and no daddies to love them, like our children have.
I am excited when my children, echo the prayers we pray in front of them. I am more excited when our children imitate our intentional work in the places where Jesus' red letters are lived out. Extreme Poverty, is a harsh reality in this world. Taking our children to the places where this poverty is realized, emotionally at The Bridge, and physically in Sub-Saharan Africa so that they can participate with God in his redemption of this horrid consequence of a fallen world. Extreme poverty is best understood by a child who is raised and commissioned to bring the Kingdom of God in to heal the desperation.
><> ><> This post is an answer to the question: "How do you explain extreme poverty to your kids?" It is from the Red Letters Campaign Blog Buzz. To read more answers to this question, and their previous questions visit their website.
Have yet to find a philosophical somewhere I am content to call home. The closest I get to a creed these days is a quote by John Green. "Whether I believe in God isn’t really relevant. I do believe however tenuously in Mercy" Due to a lot of personal reasons encountered along this journey, I have mostly stepped away from writing for now. Still, sometimes something stirs me and I need space to hash out my thoughts. So welcome to my little space along the journey.
Friday, June 20, 2008
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I think that is one of the most beautiful prayers I have ever read. She is a treasure! Thank you for sharing.
Others might dream of a trip to Disneyworld or a red mustang, I fantasize that one day our kids will get to play side by side in Swaziland! You and Christi are doing such a great job with your kids. You're going to do just as good with those precious ones in Nsoko because you've got a passion and love for God that spills over to His little ones.
Love you guys!
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