by Pastor Michael Salemink
On the one hand, Frank Klein’s just like the rest of us. He’s a sixty-something Texas rancher with a pickup truck who cares for his mama. He’s a responsible citizen and an honest Christian. On the other hand, Frank’s exceptional. He belongs to our nationwide four-decade fellowship of Gospel-motivated voices For Life. And he takes award-winning photographs.
Some time ago he started visiting cemeteries across the state. Frank focused his lenses especially on the angel monuments that accompanied the headstones, and he noticed that many of them resembled children—often standing sentry over the tombs of little ones who died too young. The silent graveyards and concrete sculptures seemed to reveal an overlooked reality: These bodies, however short, had worth and purpose. These lives, however slight, were special and precious. These neighbors, whether once unseen within the womb or invisible now beneath the ground, meant joy and brought hope. And the angelic attendants proclaimed them laid into the arms above and commended into the care of the Father who created them with His own hands, redeemed them by His Son’s incarnation, and embraced them as His Holy Spirit’s temple, kingdom, and family.
“See that you do not despise one of these little ones,” says Jesus the Lord and Savior. “For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father” (Matthew 18:10). He’s not suggesting that their death transforms them into a different kind of creature, but instead that He has assigned a supernatural guardian to each one even from the beginning. And their heavenly attendants discharge the duty with such pride and delight that they can look Almighty God in the eye, whereas the ones who must account for us grown-ups might prefer to avert their gaze and keep their distance.
So in their minute days, even the memorials of these modest and anonymous messengers declare the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the sanctity of life that we struggle to make known in our many decades.
“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me” (Matthew 18:3).