Roanoke Church of Christ



In Matthew 18:1-6, Jesus calls a little child to him and tells his listeners if they become like a little child they will be great in God’s kingdom. He then says in verse six, “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

As we read such verses we should try not to allow our modern culture to be the interpreter. From any number of historic documents we can find how children were seen in ancient times. Male children were preferred because they could fight and protect the tribe. That, as well as a view of male superiority, defined the place of girl babies. There are a number of places in both Greek and Roman writings where wives were told by their husbands to kill a baby if it were a girl. Why? Children were another mouth to feed. As soon as they could hold their own they were put to work. In Sparta, all new babies were checked by soldiers for strength, the weak were either exposed to die, or were made slaves. At age 7 they were taken and trained to be warriors. ( among other sites) According to several web sites, the Romans were notorious for killing their unwanted children. Even among the Jews, boys were preferred and the almost inevitable large family was a hardship. Of course, many died at birth, others by illness, and accident. The males could be killed in battle.

So what picture might we get from what Jesus said and what it was like in that time? Children did not occupy a cute and cuddly position in that society. They had to “earn their keep” as soon as possible. They could easily be victims of abuse of all kinds. They were not considered to be important. So when Jesus says to be the greatest in the kingdom of God, he takes the least on earth as his example.

As to the cause to stumble or sin, anything done by anyone (in my opinion) that causes the child to lose their chance to be a child, (to miss the mark) so that they will not have the chance at being a productive adult, is worthy of the milestone. I’m not talking about hardship. Any family can experience that. I’m talking about abuse, physically and mentally. I’m talking about the child whose parents does not want them and lets them know it every day in one terrible way or another. You know what I mean, and the list could go on and on and on. But that’s not what I have in mind.

In last Sunday’s paper, in an article about the apple production in Virginia, there was a picture of a little boy and girl about six or seven, walking up a lane in an apple orchard. They were friends. I couldn’t help but smile. I do that a lot when I see kids. I even do it when I see cats and dogs. I even do it when I see those preteens who are about to stretch their wings and fly. But little kids are special, and for now that’s what I want to say.

We have two sets of grandchildren. Two granddaughters in their twenties. Then we have a boy and a girl, six and three. When I think of them I smile, even
when I think of the two older ones. I think of the innocence of being a little child and how I wanted (and want) them to have it for as long as possible. I think of the wonder of walking through an apple orchard and that being the whole world. I think of the child playing with a dog or a cat and having no other thing with which to be concerned. And yet I also know a child who remains a child will not thrive. And while I really hate what humans are capable of, I am also hopeful that just as it was for me, they will not have to be old before their time. That there will be more stories to read about less and less of the various kinds of abuse that is part of today’s society.

Bill Cosby said grandparents are just old people who are trying to get into Heaven. He may be right, but when I see the wonder of a child’s world I can’t help but smile. And I want them to be able to drink, one sip at a time, fully of life. And woe to those who would water-board them instead. They deserve the millstone.

CONCERNS: Connie Crites’ brother is now in guarded condition. Ken Teatino, Mark McRoy’s friend died last week. Kathy Sirgy will not have back surgery at this time. Ron Matney may have to go on dialysis. Ben Robertson leaves for India this week and will be gone until early November. Sheila will be returning from California after caring for her mother. Phillip Pierce’s mother is back at work. Jim Whites’s mother is recovering at home. Martha Foy’s parents as well as a friend, Sharon Breeding are having some health issues. Another friend, Lauren needs our prayers. Stephanie Dixon’s boss’s son, Grayson (eye issues) Ray Reiss is in rehab in Texarkana, recovering from a motorcycle accident. The following are dealing with cancer: Leena Bolin’s brother, Nick, Del Bolin’s friends, Sharon and Billy and Joni Beach’s mother. Jenni Cullum will have hip surgery probably sometime this month. Remember also Helen Nicklas, Alma Martin, Tim Elder, Health Talents and Bread For A Hungry World.

Monday: Isaiah 6:1-13
Tuesday: Matthew 13:1-23
Wednesday: John 6:1-15
Thursday: Luke 15:11-32
Friday: Genesis 39:1-23
Saturday: Psalm 66:1-20
Monday: Hosea 11:1-9
Tuesday: Matthew 10: 24-39
Wednesday: Exodus 16:1-36
Thursday: Luke 7:36-50
Friday: John 13:31-38; 18:15-27
Saturday: Psalm 103:1-22

Kahlyne and Chuck Nolde have moved to Austin, Texas. They are both from that area and Chuck’s employer let him transfer to there. They left on Thursday, September 27.

Although Nick Bolin is not very comfortable with public recognition, some accomplishments deserve to be mentioned. On the weekend of September 15, Nick was recognized for having achieved the rank of Life Scout in the Boy Scouts of America organization. Life is the highest rank a scout can earn short of Eagle Scout. Only 4% of all scouts ever achieve the rank of Eagle, and Nick is on track to earn that as well. His Eagle Scout project is to replace the current storage shed at the Wagner’s home with a larger, more useful structure. He has an eight week timeline for completion once final design plans are approved. Hopefully all will go smoothly and his project will be completed on time. And while we are embarrassing him, you might as well know he also has the responsibility this year of being Senior Patrol Leaded, making him the highest ranking scout in the Troop leadership. Congratulations Nick! We are proud of you.

Our thanks to both the adults and young folks who have recently prepared two evening meals at the Ronald McDonald House. The latest was last Wednesday evening.

Thanks also to Brad Hager for working on the office computers and bringing us up to the 21st Century!

Our annual Peaks of Otter Hike and Picnic will be on Sunday, October 21st. Remember, if you are riding the bus, you will need to get tickets early, especially if it is a nice day. A sign-up sheet in on the table in the foyer. You only need to sign it for the picnic. Remember, that is also Super Sunday weekend. Plan to be there for both events.

Del Bolin will be in El Salvador for eight days on a medical trip. John is going with him this time. They will leave today.

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