Learning From Our Latino Friends

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers
Proverbs 17:6 ESV

Four years ago, we retired and moved to Florida. Oh, the weather is grand, and I tolerate the heat and humidity, recalling that I will never have to dig my car out of three feet of snow again! We live in a nice quiet neighborhood, go to a nice church and life is easier. But I miss the Brazilian church where we attended and served on staff for 16 years. With Grandparent’s Day just around the corner, I am missing more and more, how our Brazilian brothers and sisters related to older people. Now, of course our Anglo church is respectful of older folks, and schedules lots of senior stuff, like luncheons and trips, but I miss being invited to birthday parties for 1 year-old’s and being asked to pray a blessing before we sang – Parabens pra voce! (Happy birthday). I miss heading out with everyone else for ice cream on hot summer nights after church and having young people hanging around with us at the church picnics.

Today’s verse lays out the model that God has in mind for us. It says that older people’s greatest glory is not going on a cruise with a bunch of other old folks but being included and honored among the people who are their children and grandchildren. One custom I loved was called “Bencoes” (Blessings) This meant that when a family visit was over, the young ones would run to their uncles, aunts or grandparents and ask for blessings before they left for home. They were remembering that we older people are carrying a blessing to give. So, let’s ask ourselves, “How can I give away a blessing to the younger people around me?” or if you are that younger person, “Who can I honor by asking their blessings on my life today?”

God’s Weakest Tiny Child


Though now the great and mighty try
To steal destroy and kill
They cannot change God’s plan of grace
Not now nor ever will

For there is no darkness deep
Nor terror running wild
That can still the praises from
God’s weakest tiny child

“Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 18:10 NKJV


God's Weakest Tiny Child by Peter Caligiuri 
Copyright 2022 All rights reserved

Broken Windows

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and  took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross. Colossians 2:14 KJV

When I was about twelve, my mom separated from my stepdad and took my sister and I to move hundreds of miles away to live her parents. Leaving behind all that was familiar, I was eager to make new friends, so when I found three guys about my own age in our new neighborhood, I immediately joined their circle. Just down the street from my grandparent’s home was an elementary school with a playground where we liked to hang out. Right next to that playground was a house which the school had bought, with the plan of tearing it down to make room for an addition. Since the house was soon to be demolished one of the guys in our group wondered who would care if we broke a few windows. We were astonished at his brilliant and exciting plan! Wasting no time to think of things, such as the town hall and police station being only blocks away, we quickly filled our pockets with stones and began a contest to see who could break the most panes. Of course, it wasn’t long before someone called the police, and soon the sirens and flashing lights of two patrol cars came racing up and we all ran inside the house to hide. It didn’t take the officers long to round us up and trot us all into the elementary school. There they lined us up in the hallway just outside the principal’s office. By the time it was my turn to enter, my knees were shaking and though I forget what was said, I remember that the principal took out a black book where he had written our names. Then he showed me that he was marking a large black circle right next to mine. I had no idea what that meant, but it felt as if I was doomed for life!

Photo by Kevin Malik on Pexels.com

Looking back on how we were then simply released to slink quietly home, I am pretty sure that all of our parents were in on the elaborate ruse. It really was a great plan, because not one of us got into any trouble again that summer! In fact, we did not even have the courage to speak about our moment of infamy to each other! That time reminds me of today’s verse. Just as we each received a black mark next to our name, so everyone who has ever lived has been caught by the justice system of God. We have all sinned and the penalty for our sin is death. We have broken, not only the windows of heaven, but also the heart of God. He has sadly marched us in and one by one placed a black mark by our names. But unlike in my childhood experience, God’s plan did not end there. Instead, God sent His only son, to die in our place, so that He could erase the black mark. And the even better news of the Bible is that instead of simply releasing us to go to our own homes, God has invited us to come to live in His forever!