Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their parents.
Proverbs 17:6 NRSV
Before the notion of a continuing afterlife became prevalent in Judaism, the legacy of an individual on earth was his or her children and grandchildren: they continue my flesh, they often continue my name.
However, this scripture subverts the popular religious beliefs of the day. Yes, grandchildren are the crown but the glory of parents is not necessarily their children: “The glory of children is their parents.”
So often the drive in successful parenting is to enroll children into activities to make parents proud. It is a strange economy where parents’ pride in children is an extension and manifestation of privilege and a celebration of the resulting inequalities. In these cases, whose glory is being celebrated, the child or the parents?
If the glory of children is their parents, we seek to live in a world where all children are rendered as divine gifts. Their parents live in a just and equal society where they may give their children opportunities to excel, perform, and create. When parents are disadvantaged from offering their children opportunities, or those opportunities are practiced as exercises in inequality, the legacy left behind is an extension of the mistakes and horrors of the past.
We can do better.
Holy Spirit, descend upon us, onto all flesh, from our oldest to our youngest. Move in new ways among us. Grant us the courage to speak with tongues of fire to support parents and to work for justice for parents and children, in ways that do honor to you. Amen.
Rev. Dr. Christopher D. Rodkey
St. Paul’s United Church of Christ
Christopher is the author of Too Good to Be True and The Synaptic Gospel