The responsible care of children has two vital sides. One is to provide an intelligent, nurturing environment for their free development. The other is to keep them safe from abuse and exploitation.
Worldwide attention will be given to both these responsibilities tomorrow at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D. C. Thousands will gather for an event called Stand for Children day. This gathering is spearheaded by Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children's Defense Fund.
The statement of purpose for the event says, in part: "Stand for Children day on June 1 will be a day of family and community renewal, celebration and commitment to children. . . . It will be a day to commit ourselves as a national community to do more to improve the quality of children's lives: their health, safety, school readiness, education, and future."
Standing for children is neither begun nor finished through one event. But this grand occasion serves to make more visible the urgent and tender needs of children. An impressive group of over 1,500 endorsing organizations is striving to protect and uplift the lives of children, both before and after this event.
The Bible offers hope and help to those concerned with the welfare of children. The coming of the infant Jesus was prophesied, announced, and preserved by angels. It is natural to trust our children today to the care of angels-not angels of chance and superstition, but angels as defined in terms of the Bible's inspired message. Mary Baker Eddy, in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, spiritually defines those angels that must have surrounded Jesus as "God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality" (p. 581). Mrs. Eddy discovered the healing Science behind the life and works of Christ Jesus, and presented it to this age as Christian Science.
Angels, seen as "God's thoughts" coming to everyone, can be trusted to bring goodness and health. These heavenly thoughts are understood and felt as present, dependable, and adequate to guide all children and all those who care for them. You might say, "There are so many children; are there enough angels to care for them?" Yes. The infinite supply of angel thoughts from their source--God, divine Mind--can be discovered through praying and listening. God is also divine Love, and each of His children is divinely loved.
Some of the most important occasions in the Bible were attended by the presence of "God's thoughts passing to man." Sometimes they were identified by name as angels; Michael and Gabriel appear in Scripture as bringing God's word and reassurance on several occasions, and a blessing always occurs in their presence. Gabriel often has the task of announcing good; this angel told of the coming of both John the Baptist and of Jesus (see Luke, chap. 1). Michael is more often seen as a protector or defender of those needing care. Michael is the angel that cast out the great red dragon in the book of Revelation (see chap. 12:7-9).
Vividly appropriate to the Stand for Children tomorrow is the affirmation concerning the angel Michael in the book of Daniel. Leading the last chapter in that book are the ringing words "And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people" (12:1).
Standing for children--symbolically, visibly, actively, courageously, healingly-comes naturally to so many advocates of children's welfare. The presence of thousands of children and their families in Washington is concrete evidence of care--and the need for more of it. The prayers of readers of this newspaper will contribute to the sincere and unselfish purpose of this event. These prayers of support must bring the company of angels--the presence of multitudes of Michael and Gabriel thoughts, ensuring the fulfillment of the purpose of this event, and of the protection and promotion of the highest, most practical, and most spiritual achievements by and for children.
Articles and features on Christian Science appear in a monthly magazine, The Christian Science Journal.