I HAD a friend who always turned to the Bible when in doubt or when facing an important decision. She wasn't what you might call an ``overly religious'' person, but there was a core of compassion in her life that she associated with the Bible and her own religious upbringing. She was a schoolteacher. But, in a way, she was even more than that word implies. She gave her whole life to her schoolwork and to the children with whose education she was entrusted. Evidence of her love was clear in the fact that pupils she had taught some thirty and forty years before frequently brought their children and grandchildren to meet her. I doubt there was any single passagein the Bible that was more vivid to her than the scene where Christ Jesus rebuked his disciples for trying to send away some people who had brought their children to see him. The New English Bible quotes Jesus as saying, ``Let the children come to me; do not try to stop them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.''1
There was something profoundly Christian in my friend's life that taught me a great deal about how much we need to value children. I could see that her love for children and her willingness to go to any lengths to help a single child had brought hope and love and purpose to her life. And some of the children that she helped were not little angels by any measurement! But the tenderness and understanding that she brought to children's lives were priceless.
Earlier in her life this teacher had had to give up her career because of ill health. But she had a friend who had been healed through Christian Science, and she decided to look into its teachings. Her own recovery, as a result of turning to these teachings, was rapid, and she was able once again to teach the children she loved.
The convergence of Christ Jesus' message, spiritual healing, and devotion to the welfare of children was not merely coincidental in my friend's life. She saw that they naturally go together. Of course, Jesus certainly saw a vital link between love of God and love of children. And we need to see that link today. We need to cherish the innocence that is natural to children; we need to protect thatinnocence and nurture it in ourselves,no matter what our age or the possible harshness of human experience.
We can have confidence that deep love of God and an understanding of man's inherent spirituality and goodness can overcome human failure and human flaws, no matter how serious they seem to be. Christian Science assures us that man is the child of God. And God is always with us. In fact, He is the very Mind and Life of man -- of each one of us. The more we realize our own spiritual nature and understand that God is our Father-Mother, the more we'll see that we have the capacity to give love and to receive it. Surely this is fundamental to finding ways through which we can better care for children in our society.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, wrote with conviction about God's being divine Love itself. She also affirmed repeatedly the strong requirements to love others that this divine reality places upon all of us; compels in all of us. ``Love is not something put upon a shelf,'' she said, ``to be taken down on rare occasions with sugar-tongs and laid on a rose-leaf. I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results. Unless these appear, I cast aside the word as a sham and counterfeit, having no ring of the true metal.''2
Concern for children is much more than a nice ideal; it can become the very ground upon which our Christianity is tested and proved.
1Mark 10:14. The King James Version reads: ``Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.'' 2Miscellaneous Writings,p. 250.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. I John 3:18