Jesus talks about marriage and divorce and the innocence and openness of children today. They may seem like the usual "Mark-mash-up" of ideas. But there is an important thread that ties what Jesus is talking about, together.
In that time and place, women had few rights unto their own, and if they were divorced, they often became poverty-stricken, homeless. Jesus, by restricting the right of divorce claimed by the Pharisees, was being the civil rights champion to which so many of us aspire: protecting those who by law and custom are easily stepped upon and cast aside.
In a similar vein, Jesus chastises his disciples for not allowing children to come near him. He says "whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it." The exuberance, the openness, the excitement, the imagination, the willingness to live into mystery are some of the attributes of children Jesus is asking us to model in our quest to establish the kingdom he announces, here and now. He is also reaching out, like he did in the verses just prior to these, and protecting the children from being cast aside as unimportant.
Jesus protects those who are thought of by society as "less-than"......who, that surrounds us, is considered less-than the rest of the society in which we live? Who should we be reaching out to protect?
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Inauguration Morning, 2009.