This week we joined thousands of other churches, synagogues, mosques and temples in celebrating International Children’s Sabbath: giving thanks for children and youth, and pledging ourselves to their wellbeing and fair treatment.
In Church the children helped Rev. Kent tell the story of the widow who knocked and knocked and knocked on the unjust judge’s door until he finally gave what was right. We need people of promise and persistence to keep knocking everyday to help others get what is just and fair. So this week there are both prayers of the heart to say, and “prayers in action” that we can take as a way of putting faith into deed.
Children’s Sabbath is the inspiration of Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund. Here is the prayer offered in worship written by her:
O God, help us to recover our hope for our Children’s sake.
Help us recover our courage for our Children’s sake.
Help us recover our discipline for our Children’s sake.
Help us recover our ability to work together for our Children’s sake.
Help us recover our values for our Children’s sake.
Help us recover our faith for our Children’s sake.
The 2016 National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths® Celebration, “Children of Promise: Closing Opportunity Gaps” is a focus on closing opportunity gaps due to poverty and lack of access to high-quality early childhood development and a high-quality education so that every child can reach their God-given potential. For that to happen, we as people of faith need to stand tall within our communities and push our nation to keep our promises of love and justice, equality and dignity for all. Here’s some facts and some ways you can make a prayer with your actions:
- How about making one day a week a day to phone call or email a legislator or public official encouraging them, and asking them (over and over) to craft law and policy in the best interest of children? It can be as easy as breathing, and as regular. (Remember that God would write a covenant on our hearts, so it would be as integral as living!): you could ask what they are doing to ensure no child is hungry or without shelter? Or Ask if they will support the UN convention on the rights of the Child (we’re the ONLY COUNTRY not to ratify it. Really?)
- Check at your work: does your busisness offer parental leave? Time off for sick family members? Could you explore how some implementation might be possible?
- Give some extra love and support to a local teacher: they are the front line on children’s hardships. They need help so they can be help!
- Support children who are not your own. This is critical and practical. Children who are not our own will be supporting us with their work, taxes, and community participation. Your generous and loving support is a prayer for the right ordering of all our lives.
- Get Educated! The Children’s Defense Fund is the perfect place to start. Here are some notes from them on Children and Poverty:
- America’s child poverty rate is one of the highest among industrialized nations.
- Child poverty creates gaps in cognitive skills.
- Child hunger jeopardizes children’s health and ability to learn.
- Child poverty fuels the intergenerational cycle of poverty.
- For more information: Poverty Report