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Eurasia Blog Wednesday Devotion: “Let the little children come to me”

This image can be found at: http://www.jeankeatonart.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/snugglingInfant.jpg

This image can be found at: http://www.jeankeatonart.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/snugglingInfant.jpg

Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it” (Luke 18:15-17, ESV).

As several recent posts have highlighted, as well as several past posts, many of our activities in the Eurasia Region involve children. From English Bible Camps to English classes, from Sunday School to blessings for school children and teachers, from medical missions to building playgrounds, children are an important part of the focus in Eurasia. As Luke, Mark, and Matthew all demonstrate in their Gospels, Jesus desired the little children to be brought to him. The disciples thought this was a bother and a waste of time, but Jesus rebuked them. The Kingdom of God belongs to these little ones. And truly, the little ones he cradled and blessed were receiving the Kingdom because they were received by the one who brings the Kingdom. It is our privilege in the Eurasia Region to continue to bring children to Jesus so that they might be received by him and thereby receive the Kingdom of God. Through the works of mercy, teaching, and everyday activities mentioned in these posts, the parents, missionaries, partner churches, sister churches, and short term mission teams of the Eurasia Region proclaim the Gospel of Jesus to the little children of Germany, Russia, Slovakia, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, Lithuania, and many many more countries. However, the most important place parents bring their little children is to the waters of Holy Baptism in the Lutheran churches of the Eurasia Region. There Jesus, through our Pastor missionaries and the pastors of our partner and sister churches, receives the little children, cradling them in his arms and blessing them with his Name, life, salvation, and the forgiveness of sins.

Pastor Alexander Burthev baptized a young boy on Pentecost Sunday, May 19, 2013.

Pastor Alexander Burthev baptized a young boy on Pentecost Sunday, May 19, 2013. For the full story, go here.

And in the end, we are all little children. We have need of the Father’s guiding hand, loving-kindness, and protection. We stumble and we fall. We are still learning to walk. Without the Father’s gift of faith through his Son, we would be hopeless and helpless like an infant or child separated from his parents. Through our Baptisms and the preaching of God’s Word, Jesus receives us into his Kingdom as little children, and we receive the Kingdom as little children who can only take with joy that which comes from our Father’s hand through his Son.  This is the Son who, on the road to Jerusalem to bear the cross for our sins, paused for the little children — for me and for you.

Pastor Alexander Burthev baptized a woman on Pentecost Sunday, May 19, 2013.

Pastor Alexander Burthev baptized a woman on Pentecost Sunday, May 19, 2013.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, gather your children from all the nations, both young and old, through the proclamation of your Holy Word and the administration of your Holy Sacraments so that all people may receive the Kingdom from your hand as little children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

O Holy Spirit, you are the great Comforter; grant peace and comfort to all those who today are mourning their loved ones killed in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Grant continued healing and hope to the families and friends of the victims, and to the United States as a nation. Draw us all to the life-giving Means of Grace where you have promised to deliver Jesus to us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

  •  To read last week’s devotion, click here.
  • Please also pray for the Board for International Mission, which meets this week, as they deliberate over the issuance of Calls to prospective missionaries and the overall strategy of mission work in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.

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