THAT was the caption under a picture of several exuberant children, of different races and backgrounds, hands joined, happily running together. Each joyful, smiling face reflected its own special qualities. Truly this picture was worth a thousand words.
Perhaps it takes children, free of prejudice and suspicion, to speak to us of the family unity among all races and nationalities on earth.
The Bible tells us that we are the children of God. The New Testament is bright with beautiful images of heavenly Parent and child. Christ Jesus' references to God as our Father shouldn't be ignored or lightly dismissed. That we are all brothers and sisters in the beloved family of God is a major theme of Jesus' ministry.
The need today is not for feelings of superiority but for humble, childlike worship of the one God and for an appreciation of man's true nature as His image. ''Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?'' the disciples asked Jesus. The Bible account continues: ''And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.'' n1 How do we receive one another? Are we ready to receive one another in his name as beloved members of one family?
n1 Matthew 18:1-5
Something deep within us is touched and awakened by another's childlikeness. Our own spiritually derived capacity for tenderness, trust, and purity is quickened. All that is like a little child within us shows itself. Yet in this world of what seem to be great complications and sophisticated arguments, can Jesus' teachings work? Can childlikeness heal the ugliness of what appears to be entrenched ignorance and racism? Is it too late, in a world run by suffering adults, to humble ourselves as little children?
Well, in the kingdom of heaven, there is no ''too late.'' There is no impossibility. Divine Love and Truth reign. Jesus taught us that the kingdom of heaven is within us, not outside us. And he himself prayed, ''Thy kingdom come.'' n2 Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, gives the spiritual sense of these words in the Christian Science textbook: ''Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present.'' n3
n2 Matthew 6:10
n3 Science and Health with key to the Scriptures p.16
The ever-presence of God, divine Love, is something we need to realize and trust. And when we do, barriers separating us - even age-old barriers - begin to melt. But they melt first within our hearts.
''No power can withstand divine Love,'' n4 Mrs. Eddy writes. The power of divine Love will reach our child-hearts. And the more deeply we understand this universal power, the less likely we are to act naively or insensitively.
n4 Ibid p.224
Christ Jesus' purity, humility, innocence, and trust were a source of strength, not weakness. These God-given qualities go hand in hand with wisdom, not naivet. Spiritually derived qualities that enable us to humble ourselves as little children are unquestionably powerful. There is no weakness or vulnerability in them.
We may discover such spiritual qualities to be a great reservoir of strength in our own lives, enabling us to overcome evil. Our pure, good nature is not something we lost ''way back there'' somewhere. Our real identity as the child of God, as His spiritual offspring, is indestructible and has never been lost.
No matter how it would seem human life has worn upon us, or educated us in a wrong direction, the child in each of us - our spiritually derived goodness - calls us to cherish and to forgive, to help and to build. The problems between races or between national or religious factions are not too great, too ingrained , too real. Cynicism may suggest that the words of Jesus, touching as they sound , cannot prevail in this ''roughhouse'' world. But such ''experienced'' adult talk ignores the great simplicity and power of the Christ, and it will not be able to hold out against it forever. Spiritual innocence and understanding are power. They prevail. Daily Bible Verse What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? Micah 6:8