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Message from the Minister December 2023

Remember the Children

Every holiday season I think back to all the many ways my parents went out of their way to make sure me and my brothers had everything we needed, enough food and clothing, a solid roof over our heads, some extra toys or other necessities of raising healthy, happy children. Most of all, I remember how they went out of their way to make sure our home was filled with peace, joy, laughter and a good measure of gratitude.

It seemed that my parents’ whole life revolved around caring for their kids, and it did. It is only natural right? So, why doesn’t that natural tendency to care for our children and put their needs before the adults translate to the children of other parents or other nations? Spiritually speaking, are they not all our children as well?

It never felt right to me that I should enjoy so much prosperity when other children were forced to endure so much suffering. And that feeling has never left me. I feel it now perhaps more than ever; with thousands of children suffering and dying needlessly and millions of innocent children displaced and unhoused around the world uncertain of their next meal, my heart is heavy this holiday season. Not that there hasn’t been hunger, wars, violence and innocent victims throughout history; it is just that I have come to a point where I cannot tolerate it anymore.

If we are going to let there be peace on earth, there has to be a moment when we stop supporting war. If we can just remember who are the real victims of our vengeance, and for a brief moment attempt to see the Christ child in the faces of those innocent children, I believe our arguments for war will crumble into ashes. We might even finally see that we are only doing this to ourselves.

However we try to justify our violence and rage in the world, absolutely nothing can justify the killing of the innocent children of God. No matter what your religion, no matter what your cultural heritage or socio-economic background, one innocent child suffering and dying in this manner speaks volumes of our lack of empathy or any kind of moral or spiritual compass.

Any true religious or spiritual path I know of consists of loving your neighbor as yourself, treating everyone as a child of God and helping all those who might be caught in the sea of illusion and desperation. As a spiritual leader, the use of religion as an excuse for war is particularly distasteful to me, especially when the aim of all religious practice is to draw in peace closer to the God of your understanding, in an effort to realize God’s peace on Earth.

In this season of peace and celebration of The Christ, let us not only remember those we call family and friends, not only those with whom we agree; but let us remember the children, the children of those whom we may have never met, the children of the places of the world we may never see, the children without a parent, without a meal, without a home or without hope. Let us give ourselves fully to doing more good in the world and being a light, and as we do, please remember the children.

“Let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of Heaven.”  Matt: 19:14

Have a Blessed Holiday Season

Reverend Tony