From Episcopal Relief & Development Lenten Meditations 2018
Take care that you do not despise one of these little ones; for, I tell you, in heaven their angels continually see the face of my Father in heaven. Matthew 18:10
I once asked a group of fourth graders at church to write down the three people besides their parents who were most important to them. Who made them feel safe? Who encouraged them to be their best? Who helped them feel close to God?
Fourth grade is a vulnerable time. Few children think they're "cool," and everybody feels despised by a friend, a teacher, a bus driver and even a dog on occasion. I told the kids I wouldn't look at their lists, but I was curious: Did anybody have a priest on the list? No. Did anybody have a Sunday School teacher? Hands shot up.
This is not a criticism of clergy. The children valued the priests in the pulpit and at the altar rail. But the angels in these children's lives were people who sat on the floor with Play-Doh and Legos, people who shared pretzels and made space for children to be their vulnerable selves. Discipleship is strengthened not only in the pews but also in the places where lay people minister.
-Boykin Dunlap Bell