Listen to your children

BY BISHOP PEGGY JOHNSON

I have always loved the praise song by Ken Medema titled “Lord, Listen to Your Children.” Its refrain goes like this:

Lord, listen to your children praying,
Lord, send your Spirit in this place;
Lord, listen to your children praying,
Send us love, send us pow’r, send us grace.

Love, power and grace are the things that God has for his children, children of all ages.  In recent years our chronological children are speaking to this world about things that are happening that need the attention of all of us.  Front and center are the issues of gun violence and climate change

One does not have to wait very long for the next mass shooting. They occur now almost weekly, and one begins to wonder if it is safe to go shopping or to an open air concert, theater or country fair. Always there is the fear of being the next victim of these acts of horror. 

Grandmothers are buying their grandchildren bullet-proof school backpacks.  I raised my children in a more innocent time, and they never experienced “active shooter drills.” But children today are going to school with an undercurrent of fear.

Some of our children went to Washington DC after the Parkland, Fla., school shooting. They begged our legislators to do something about this crisis. I hope people will listen to our children. I pray that God’s love, power and grace from above will inspire our leaders to address this urgent, complicated issue honestly and effectively.  Let’s be in prayer about this and add our voices to those of our impassioned young advocates!

Recently, a spunky Swedish 16-year old named Greta Thunberg journeyed across the Atlantic Ocean on a yacht and arrived in New York City to continue her crusade to help save our planet. She is calling for the world to address with more urgency the issues of climate change that are causing catastrophic weather systems on the planet. 

Greta’s critics call her “crazy” and say she is an alarmist who has “no sense of humor.” There are even bumper stickers with expletives decrying her crusade for the world to wake up and do more to save itself.  But she has created a groundswell of support among many, and her voice continues to be heartening.

Greta Thunberg

She has Asperger’s Syndrome, but she calls it her “super power” for the work she is doing. A Nobel Peace Prize nominee, she has inspired many other young people with her courage and conviction. I pray for her relentless voice!

The alarming increase of category 4 and 5 hurricanes could be construed as a wake-up call.  Some of our churches and their cemeteries on the Eastern Shore of Maryland are imperiled by rising sea levels.  I hope people will listen to our children and to Greta’s message and take some personal steps to care for the environment.  Let’s be in prayer and join their active, conscientious witness on this matter as well.

Our children want what we all want: love, power and grace for our world.  Only God is the true source of these intangible but very real forces that can conquer our mammoth challenges. 

God’s spiritual resources are the answer to our fear, violence and over-consumption. Could God be calling us to do more about the things that are killing our people and destroying our planet? 

Are greed, apathy or lack of creativity taking center stage? Or are we unwilling to partner with those we consider “the other,” those who are different from us?  What world are we leaving for the next generation if we sit by and do nothing? Do we care?

I urge us all to listen to the children and youth in our families, churches, schools and communities.  God gives them messages that we need to hear.  As we work together lovingly on these challenges, more good can be accomplished.  As we call upon the love, power and grace of our Lord, there is no telling what good can happen and how we might be transformed.

Republished from The Bishop’s Blog.