…it seems so right to me.
One of my former students is the Rev. Dr. Traci Blackmon, Executive Minister of Justice & Local Church Ministries for The United Church of Christ and Senior Pastor of Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant. Traci’s work means that she travels widely and speaks much, and her experience with the Masai, a tribe of East Africa, sometimes finds its way into her presentations.
The Masai are a fierce tribe; their warriors, fearsome. Traci learned from them their traditional greeting to one another: “kasserian ingera,” or, in English, “And how is it with the children?” Masai elders, she says, understand that in inquiring after the welfare of the children of the community, tribespeople are in reality asking about the welfare of the whole of the community, for surely no community is stronger or safer or better fed than its most vulnerable members.
It’s tempting, this Mother’s Day week, for us to get sucked into a narrower understanding of WHUMC as OUR tribe, thinking that if we have fed, clothed, comforted and educated the children of those within our circle, we have fulfilled all righteousness. The Masai remind Traci – and us, I think – to draw wider the circle of our caring, for we follow one who said, “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” (Mark 3: 31-35)
And reminding OUR sisters and brothers about this reminder seems fit work for those of us who are elders or soon to be. What if we prepared for every decision … I mean, every decision: not just curriculum and child care, but also building and facilities, staff, spirituality, worship, program … by asking, “And how is it with the children?” And what if ‘the children’ in this question came to mean to us ‘ALL the children?’
Now THAT is fun to think about.
BTW Traci Blackmon has accepted an invitation to speak at the Webster Groves Martin Luther King Jr. holiday event, to be held at Steger Sixth Grade Center, Sunday, January 20, 2019.
Rev. Dr. Martha Robertson