Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sunday School This Morning

It's the kids like Junior that make everything I do downtown worthwhile . . . Junior is a precious five year old who lives in the housing project of Herndon Homes. He has a 3 year old brother and a 7 year old brother, both of whom seem very angry at life in general (and me in particular). In fact, this morning I was hit in the head and flipped the bird by Quadree (the 7 year old) . . . but dont worry, it only made me more determined to win him over (he's the one in the picture)

I was talking to Junior this morning about his younger brother (we'll call him JT because I have no idea how to spell the long version of his name). I was remembering our visit to Herndon Homes from last week because when I saw JT he emphatically yelled at me to leave him alone - and to leave his brothers alone. I was surprised to hear such anger and force from a barely three year old (most of them, even in the projects, just want me to hug them and carry them or watch them on the swings . . . ) Anyhow, curious about his behavior, I asked Junior "Your little brother doesn't like me very much does he?" Junior was quick to reassure me as he cuddled on my lap: "he tells everyone to leave him alone, he even told my mom 'leave me alone b**ch' . .. " Shocked, I asked Junior where he learned that word if he's only 3, Junior replied "from my dad . . . " I was heart broken to realize that Junior's mom heard that from both her "man" and her little baby son - and even more heartbroken to learn the extent to which JT's innocence has been stolen from him.

In a world where even three year olds are pushing everyone away, it's daunting to face the challenge of loving the teenagers who, by now, are experts at pushing away and hurting those around them (not that those of us in the suburbs aren't good at it too) But its also, for me, a confirmation that these are truly "the least of these" that Jesus talks about - I know, without a doubt, that loving these kids unconditionally is what I've been called to do - and if that means I have to endure being flicked-off and even hit occasionally, then I will consider it pure joy to suffer in serving Jesus! :-)

(Junior and Dialo - his cousin)

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