Look for me among the unborn infants who are killed for convenience. Look for me among the children who are stolen from their families, sold and trafficked for perverse and inhumane desires. Look for me among the children who are exploited for greed and abandoned in the name of prosperity. Look for me among the children whose special needs keep them confined, silent, and without hope. Look for me among the children, and among the grandparents who are raising them, many with parents in jails and prisons who are unable to care for them and some with parents who are unable to love them. Look for me among the children suffering from AIDS, victims born of victims, all without adequate help and hope. Look for me anywhere a family is in trouble and children are denied a right to education, health care, safety and security.
Seek me there and you shall find me.
Where do we see signs of the Risen Christ alleviating suffering among the children of the world? When I think of the Risen Christ working among children today, I think of Building 418 at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church in Titusville, Ferdinand Mafood and Food for the Poor, the Christian Foundation for Children and the Aging, Margaret Trost’s What If Foundation, and Sister Rachel in Somotillo, Nicaragua.
Building 418 provides a weekly opportunity for teens in the Titusville area to come together for games (I mean Xbox, etc…), food, and bible study. The Risen Christ is alive and working among the youth in Northern Brevard County, Florida. Project Titusville provides the opportunity for youth to spend three days in service to the community during spring break. They serve during the day and play and pray in the evening. Recently, thirteen pastors from the area staged The Living Last Supper at The Titusville Playhouse. One thousand people attended the three scheduled performances. The ministers readily agreed to do an encore performance for two hundred youth involved in Project Titusville. It was the first time most of these young people heard about the Last Supper. (http://stgabs.org/index_files/KidsMinistry.htm)
I remember a trip in the late 1980s to Haiti with Ferdinand and Patty Mafood, founders of Food for the Poor. We stared stark poverty in the eye. Ironically, we stayed at a fairly nice hotel that later collapsed in the disastrous earthquake. We visited two institutions staffed by Mother Teresa’s sisters—an adult facility for people dying of TB and AIDS and a hospital for very sick children. We visited a leprosarium. We visited a workshop where the people were learning how to earn some money making crafts. We visited schools where hungry children ate their bowls of rice with gusto. We ended the daily activities with a period of centering prayer. We knew the Risen Christ was and still is alleviating misery in Haiti. (http://www.foodforthepoor.org/)
The Christian Foundation for Children and the Aging provides funds to educate children living in poverty around the world. We currently adopt four children. When these children write you their sponsor a letter, you know the Risen Christ is alive and making a difference. (http://www.cfcausa.org/)
Margaret Trost, widowed at a young age, went on a mission trip to Haiti and it dramatically changed her life. She founded the What If Foundation which feeds and educates youth in Haiti. After the earthquake the Foundation fed 750,000 children and adults in one year. The Risen Christ is alive in the hearts of these people. (http://whatiffoundation.org/)
Sister Rachel is a beacon of resurrection hope in Somotillo, Nicaragua. She oversees a school in the town and an agricultural-technical school in the remote country. I mean remote because vehicles have to ford swollen streams at times. Solar power is now giving the students in the country access to the internet. The work of Sister Rachel is supported in part by contributions for sister parishes in Murphy and Hayesville, NC.
Individually and collectively, we have many opportunities to alleviate misery and suffering among children. Many organizations are working to stop child trafficking. Others are working to put an end to war and violence which destroys the lives of children.
Where do you see the Risen Christ alive among young people? Where can you be Christ to children today?