This coming Sunday we at St. Paul will be observing the 2016 Children’s Sabbath. All across our nation, in places of worship across the religious spectrum, people of faith will be drawing on the texts and teachings of their religious traditions to hear and respond to the holy and eternal call for love and justice that urges special care and protection for children, especially those who are poor. For 25 years Children’s Defense Fund has lead the Children’s Sabbath, guided by a multifaith advisory committee with Muslim, Jewish, Roman Catholic, Protestant, Báhá’í, and Sikh members. It is endorsed by more than 200 denominations, faith groups, and religious organizations.
This year’s theme is “Children of Promise: Closing Opportunity Gaps.” Together we can and must change the odds for America’s children with urgency and persistence. Every child should have an equal opportunity to succeed regardless of family income, race, disability, or zip code.
“Promise” is a rich word with layers of meaning. Another important meaning is Pro Missio – before the mission. What is the “Promise,” the “Pro Missio” that goes before us into mission? God. God’s presence is the promise – there is no situation or place in all of creation where we can go that God is not already there working in the lives of God’s children. To acknowledge that God’s promise is already with God’s children who live in poverty – recognizing their humanity and equality – is a first tiny step in addressing these opportunity gaps.
This Sunday we will worship, thanking God for the Promise of and to each child. Moving forward from this Sabbath we will be seeking ways to help close the gaps.