Texts: Jeremiah 5:27-29, Deuteronomy 16:20
Today is Children’s Sabbath. Today, we join churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, and other places of worship all over our nation to raise awareness of our sacred charge to nurture and protect our children and the poor. Each year, the Children’s Defense Fund establishes a theme for Children’s Sabbath; and this year’s theme is Pursuing Justice for Children and the Poor with Urgency and Persistence. I want to start this morning with a story about urgency and persistence.
For one year, every Wednesday night, there was a Pullen child who, upon seeing me enter Finlator Hall, would either come running to me or excitedly yell at me from his seat, “Nancy, can I spend the night with you tonight?” Somewhere along the way, I had said to this 4-year-old that one day he could have a sleepover at my house. Every Wednesday night, for an entire year, he would ask me if this was the night. And every Wednesday night I had an excuse as to why it was not a good week – I had a funeral, or a wedding, or yet another sermon to write, or a meeting to attend. But several months ago, with a new sense of urgency and a determined persistence in his voice, Nghia greeted me a bit differently. He said, “Nancy, this week I will have a sleepover with you at your house.” In that moment, I knew there were no more excuses. This wasn’t can I or when can I. He made a clear statement, “This week I will have a sleepover with you at your house.” No more excuses. The sermon writing, the meetings would have to wait.