"Different but Similar"
November 11, 2013
(Jesus said) ... to them, "Let the children come to Me; do not hinder them ..." And He took them in His arms and blessed them, laying His hands on them. Mark 10:14b, 16
It's been some time since I came across a candidate for my "How low can humans go?" category.
With great sadness, I must report one has surfaced in Fairview Heights, Illinois. The day was a Saturday, and the place was First Baptist Church. There the family and friends of 28-year-old Krystle Flaherty were saying their earthly farewells to this young mother.
It's true. Flaherty left behind a three-year-old daughter.
To help provide for the child, a donation box had been set up at the church. The money was going to be put into a trust fund for the little girl. Those of you who read my words carefully will have noted that I said, was going to be.
You see, while the service was being held, someone stole the checks, the cash, everything except for one $50 check. Nobody knows just how much money was in that box. The only thing we are sure of is some heartless soul ripped off a three-year-old child, while she was at her mother's funeral.
So, I ask you, can anybody get any lower than that?
Well ... actually, they can.
Back when I was in the parish, we had an annual event called, "The Children's Sunday School Christmas Service" (the CSSCS). To be ready for the CSSCS the youngsters practiced their songs, their parts, their standing-ups and their sitting-downs during December's Sunday school time. If we needed the extra-practice, a Saturday morning was set aside for that purpose.
The CSSCS was one of the best-attended worship services of the year. It was the only service for which relatives arrived early and vied with each other for an unobstructed view in the front pews.
Now this is where things get sad. Every year there were a few children dropped off who had never been to any of the practices. They had never learned any songs or parts and were totally unprepared for the CSSCS. Indeed, these children had not been to Sunday school or church for months.
The only reason they were there was because the parents were looking for a photo op or because grandma and grandpa wanted to see their grandkids in the CSSCS.
The teachers did their best to help the kids fit in, but they could only do so much. Watching the CSSCS we were embarrassed for those kids who not only didn't know what to say, they had no idea how somebody should behave in church. As those children grew older, they also were embarrassed. To the best of my recollection all those children eventually fell away from the church.
How low can a person go?
I've seen pseudo-Christian parents take their children and steal them away from their Savior. Today those children have little ones of their own and the sins of the fathers are being visited upon a new generation.
Yes, it's a terrible thing to steal money from a mourning child, but it's worse to steal a child from a loving Lord. This is why I pray, this devotion may, at least for one individual, change this year's CSSCS and, at the same time, change the direction of a young child's life.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, You loved little children. You blessed them and gave Your life for them. May we do all we can to make sure our youngsters know the depth of Your love. In Your Name. Amen.
P.S. - I normally don't do this, but if you want to help Krystle's little girl, donations can be sent to Krystle's child at The Bank of Belleville, 720 West Main Street in Belleville, IL 62220.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries