Matthew 7:13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
This scripture called to me as I read the lectionary a couple of days ago. As a hiker, I’m drawn to the concept of following a narrow path: it’s challenging yet rewarding. Not everyone seeks that path; not everyone finds it. And of those who find it, few attempt it. Even fewer make it to the other side.
Parenting with faith often feels like walking the narrow path, which may be why Matthew’s passage has stayed with me these past few days. I find myself walking the narrow path more and more as I ponder the events of the last few weeks. We’re in sensory, information, and emotional overload from our natural and human disasters.
I don’t know about your feeds, but mine are full of posts about how to talk to our children about this latest tragedy. I’ve thought and thought and thought about how to do that, but here’s what happened instead: I didn’t talk about it at all for a couple of days.
Parenting mistake #1,003: I stupidly assumed the girls knew what was going on. Don’t let social media and connection to phones make you feel that you don’t need to inform your kids about events of the day. Kaia knew, but Jaiya often chooses to remain blissfully ignorant. When I asked her about what she knew, she said, “I sort of heard someone say something about Las Vegas… but i didn’t know what she was talking about.”
On the other hand, what could I say to the girls that I haven’t already said? We’ve had conversation after conversation about tragedy, loss of life, and how, how, how can this happen again. I decided that my plan this time was to live by example what I believe God would want us to do, and what Jesus did do: enter through the narrow gate. Follow the narrow path.
Our conversation turned to prayer and scripture. I showed the girls one of my favorite psalms, Psalm 31, and a beautiful prayer for the human family from The Book of Common Prayer. Leaning on scripture gives me the fuel to keep me going on that narrow path as a parent, and as a loved, cherished, child of God. When we lean into scripture, we’re reminded who and whose we are. And that give me hope and strength to smile and keep walking.
1 In you, O Lord, I seek refuge;
do not let me ever be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me.
2 Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily.
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me.
3 You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake lead me and guide me,
4 take me out of the net that is hidden for me,
for you are my refuge.
5 Into your hand I commit my spirit;
you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God.
9 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
my eye wastes away from grief,
my soul and body also.
10 For my life is spent with sorrow,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my misery,*
and my bones waste away.
Prayer for the Human Family
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
What scriptures give you solace and offer you peace? Are there particular prayers that comfort your family? Please share them in the comments.