Today’s Gospel lesson, though not a traditional baptismal text, embodies the spirit of the sacrament: the ones bringing the children to Jesus are not necessarily parents; they are “people” moved to care for these little ones. This choice of language leads us to ask, if the adults bringing the children to Jesus are not their parents, then who are they? Why do these men and women stand up to the disciples for the sake of children that are not biologically theirs?
Martin Boehm was a key player in founding the United Brethren in Christ denomination, one of the precursors of the United Methodist Church. More than 240 years ago, Boehm was excommunicated after having a Wesleyan-type spiritual awakening that led to his preaching to people outside of his Mennonite church. Pennsylvania Mennonites recently denounced “the small-mindedness of religious thinking” that led to Boehm’s ouster, restored his Mennonite credentials, and asked local United Methodists forgiveness for their s