Fourth Grade Child, Crucified

Fourth-grade child on the cross,

you did not choose this.

There is nothing in you

nor your family, friends, or schoolmates

that deserved this.

All forever changed without consent.


Where was Christ to wipe your tears

and who was there to honor

all the sacred blood that left your side?


Fourth-grade child, crucified

because the Romans shouted “freedom”

and would not give up their guns.

Because lobbyists lobbied

and senators are spineless

and lines are drawn unjustly

and our addiction to violence

is strong.


You deserved to live

among a people who cared.

You deserved a long life

among a people who are for life.

And now you deserve the birthing of a world

where this will never happen again.

Even so, you’re gone forever.

It would not be enough.

It would be something.


Fourth-grade child,

the grief of those who love you

is real and raw

and right and angry.

You were unprotected by

the ones who pledged to keep you safe.

We failed you.

No excuses remain.

Nothing to be said

and nothing left to do

but bear witness and not turn away.

To grieve and scream.

Hold vigil.

Refuse to forget and move on.

Demand better.


Fourth-grade child, innocent,

I need you to know—

I need us to show you tangibly—

your life was worth more than all the money in the world

and all the power thrown around

by those who lead

but do not love us.



Liz Cooledge Jenkins is a writer, preacher, chaplain, and former college campus minister who lives in Burien, WA. She has a BS in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University and an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary. She regularly posts justice-minded biblical reflections, poems, “super chill book reviews,” and more at; she can also be found on FB (Liz Cooledge Jenkins, Writer) and Instagram (@lizcoolj). Her sermon on Ruth and Boaz was included in Sojourners’ collection of immigration sermons, El Camino.

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