May 25, 2022
By Jo Wiersema
Midweek Musings is a weekly Covenant blog with a variety of authors and a variety of topics.
I never thought my life would shift so much by such young lives. I worked in preschools, elementary schools, boy scout events, and a whole resume of working with children, but no one told me that the youngest members of this congregation would shift the ground I stood on.
Each week in Kaleidoscope, I sit in the classroom with kids 3 years old and older as we discuss the ups and downs of their weeks. Sometimes, we’re excited for a birthday, or a slumber party, sometimes we’re excited to meet a new babysitter, or nervous at the same time to meet that babysitter. I cherish this time with the children, they have big thoughts. It’s easy to forget that when you’re talking with a 4-year-old, the world is still turning around them, they’re aware of the world in a way we often forget. Their big eyes are still absorbing the world around them, even if their body is smaller than ours.
As I asked for what we were nervous or scared about last week, I paused to give them all time to think. A child raises their hand.
Child 1: “Jo, I’m worried about the war in Ukraine. People are dying.”
Child 2: “I’m also worried about Ukraine; children are losing their parents in the war because they’re going to fight against Russia.”
Child 1: “But I’m also sad about Russia. Russian soldiers are dying, and that should be good, but why is it good that people are dying? That’s still sad.”
In a moment my heart dropped out of my chest, while at the same time, it was filled with so much warmth for how observant and empathetic these kids are. The complexity of a war halfway around the world. The complexity of the importance of human life, when that life has harmed others, is still a human life. These beautiful, young children of God are scared for the other side of the world. They are nervous for children they’ve never met, and so much of the world looks at them and says “well, they’re too young to know or talk about these things”.
The tragedies of the world are apparent to all corners of the world. I don’t have solutions, and I don’t pretend to have solutions, but I can do the one thing I know we can do. I, the children of Kaleidoscope, and maybe you can as well - we can pray. We can pray to a God who listens. A God who provides guidance amid pain. A God who comforts the weak, the needy, and the suffering.
So, we spent that Sunday morning praying. We prayed for the little ones on the other side of the world who didn’t know when their parents were coming home. We prayed for peace. We prayed that we would go home and hug our parents tight because it’s so important to value the time we have with the people who love us most.
I hope this message lets you hug someone close this week. I hope you spend time talking with the young people in this congregation, because as much as they giggle and run and eat one too many doughnuts, these little people are absorbing the world around them. Pray for the weight to be lifted off their small shoulders, but also pray that the weight makes them grow into strong, faithful disciples of this world. Because no matter what, we can pray.
A late note: I wrote this on Tuesday Morning. I had no idea what would come to pass in Texas a few hours later. I still feel strongly this is the message I can share with you all this week but know that no matter if it is halfway around the world, or across the country, our kids are listening, absorbing, and carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. I stand by that prayer is the best way for Christians of all ages and abilities to fight against injustice, but I also acknowledge that there are other things that can be done. Contact your elected leaders, remember that your votes matter, and hold people accountable for the catastrophic actions that they inflict on community after community. Hold your little ones tighter, but know they know why they are being held tighter.
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