East Side Presbyterian Church Blog
July 9, 2018, 12:00 AM

Rescuing the Wild Boars


A remarkable gathering of divers, medical personnel, logistics specialists, mental health specialists, engineers, providers of food and more have been working at the entrance to the cave system in Thailand where four boys and the coach of their soccer team - the Wild Boars - are still stranded.

Eight of the boys have been rescued as of this writing. These rescue efforts have been complex and dangerous because of water levels and topography, and one former Thai Navy Seal has died in those efforts.

I wonder if we would feel the weight of the world's dangers and sin if we focused on statistics about children in various events. Currently, our country is facing our government's separation of parents from children, even very young children, at our border. These boys in Thailand remain in danger, even the ones already rescued, because of ten days without food and only water dropping down the wall of the cave. One third of children in Ashtabula County live below the poverty line.

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus tries to teach the disciples about children not once, but twice. The kingdom of heaven belongs to little children, Jesus tells us, and earlier in Mark we read this:

“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”

It makes all the difference how we treat children. Our behavior in this regard is not a formula, as though if we do such-and-such for children we are meeting requirements God has set down. Rather, in Mark, these words of Jesus exhort us to a way of orienting ourselves to children, of understanding that our relationships with them are directly tied, not just to welcoming Jesus, but to the very kingdom of God. Directly tied even to welcoming God!

Let us celebrate the rescue of the Wild Boars as an event where we see God and Jesus welcomed. These children, going through a terrible experience, will be welcomed back to their parents arms with the same tenderness that God welcomes us, and because of that, these are welcoming God.

May we understand the depth of this welcome, and our call to welcome God by welcoming children!