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I Pledge Allegiance

Parents have many responsibilities with children. They make sure they are clean, fed, rested, educated, and loved. Christian parents encourage prayer, scripture, devotions, and spiritual education. Can you recall family traditions or activities that prompted spiritual growth? Did you find Sunday School classes and church attendance as well as Vacation Bible School helped nurture an allegiance for your child to the Lord? Just like the saying goes, “It takes a village” to accomplish this together.


Enjoy this brief excerpt from Sharing Stories of Jesus with Children as well as my reflection and scripture reference.


A minister pours holy water upon the head of a baby dressed in white at his christening. His mother looks on as the child quietly endures the water.


Pledge

Climbing the steps

leading to church

the little boy Jesus’

feet sway with a lurch.

Proud parents reach out

and steady his hand.

Today is the pledge

given until he’s a man.

A trip to the alter

Rabbi’s words proclaim.

The family agrees

to honor God’s name.

Together they’ll worship

apart they will pray

teaching of scripture

will be read every day.

A love of God

will foster joy.

A destiny fulfilled

the Lord is a boy.


If you enjoyed this poem click on the books link within this website for easy access to purchasing Sharing Stories of Jesus with Children. God Bless You.


Reflection:

Parents have many responsibilities with children. They make sure they are clean, fed, rested, educated, and loved. Christian parents encourage prayer, scripture, devotions, and spiritual education. Can you recall family traditions or activities that encouraged spiritual growth? Did you find Sunday School classes and church attendance as well as Vacation Bible School helped nurture an allegiance for your child to the Lord? Just like the saying goes, “It takes a village” to accomplish this together.


Many parents stand in front of congregations and promise to raise their child in the church and teach them the Bible including stories of Jesus. They pledge to fellow parishioners and before God that they will take this responsibility seriously. These are not just ceremonial words but a commitment to raising their child in faith as best as they can. God provides a bonded community within the church. Those folks who are older and more experienced offer advise and wisdom. The younger ones provide foster a passion for the Word. Ministers teach valuable scripture lessons while choirs bathe families in praiseworthy music. Parents cannot fulfill this obligation alone but together this group of believers plant God’s seed and nourish its growth.


In essence this is what Mary and Joseph were doing as well. The rabbis taught children scripture orally in the temple. These important stories which we so easily find in the Bible needed to be passed down through generations, community, or the temple to be learned. It was the parents’ obligation to make sure Jesus had access to this information enhancing his spiritual growth.


The Torah was and is instrumental in the Jewish faith. It signifies the first five books of the Old Testament. The laws associated with it are connected to Moses who received the ten commandments on Mount Sinai. The five books are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The Torah was the basis for Christian education in Jesus’ time.


When we think about Jesus, we find it hard to believe that this would even be necessary for it is assumed Jesus would already know the scriptures. Little is mentioned in the bible about Jesus as a boy. However, this event was significant enough to be noted so it illustrates the important role Mary and Joseph had as parents of the Christ child and the commitment they would make to raise him under the auspices of a family of faith.


The event is described in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 2:22–40). According to the gospel, Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem forty days (inclusive) after his birth to complete Mary's ritual purification after childbirth, and to perform the redemption of the firstborn son, in obedience to the Torah (Leviticus 12, Exodus 13:12–15, etc.). Luke explicitly says that Joseph and Mary take the option provided for poor people (those who could not afford a lamb; Leviticus 12:8), sacrificing "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." Leviticus 12:1–4 indicates that this event should take place forty days after birth for a male child.


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NANCY GAINOR

St. Pete Beach, Florida

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