The sound of children at play is high-pitched and steady. We can remember from our own youth what kind of games illicit such sounds: tag, chase, cowboys, and the like. The details of the game never mattered much when we were that age, as long as we could stretch our legs and were not behind a desk. But, on this day, the sounds matter a great deal. It is a sound that is more important and more precious today.
The news coverage out of Newtown, Connecticut today is terrible. Children and adults killed in senseless violence. Our nation is praying for those families. I am. I trust you are, too. Let our prayers not stop before they turn us to a deepened commitment to care and concern for other's people children every day and not just on days like this. I will embrace my children more tightly today. May it not stop there. For me or for you. May our passion for raising children to mature into adults who care for others and don't do harm extend beyond our own.
The sound of someone else's children at play reminds me of what a precious stewardship we have been given on this earth. Many have rightly proposed that we are measured by how we treat other people's children. Jesus' own words offer important examples: If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:6). Earlier Jesus gives a positive example: And whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward." (Matthew 10:42)
Our first reaction to the news from Connecticut is to pray. I hope we don't stop with a prayer. I hope we find a place to invest in the lives of other people's children. Volunteer at your local school to read or sit in the lunchroom. Offer to mentor a child through a local agency, like the Matthew Promise Academy at Open Door here in Columbus. Sign up to teach a Children's Sunday School class in your local congregation. Of course, not every person can do this directly but you can do something. Lend your support, contribute money, write notes of encouragement, and certainly keep praying. I want the sound of my children and others to remain that of joy and play.