Seeing news reports of children carrying guns or on the street making money illicitly, either for themselves or someone else, alerts me that we need to pray regularly for the children of the world.
At those moments I pray to know that those dear ones are safe with their Father-Mother God – that their innocence, wonder, flexibility, freedom, and openness are untouched, intact, and filled with the power of God.
I remember a little girl that my husband and friends and I encountered only for a few minutes in a city in Morocco. She rushed past us while we were walking the streets, her face lit up with joy. We hoped to take a photograph of her, and when we called to her, she stopped immediately. Her face was a picture of a joy that's not dependent on circumstances.
That moment catapulted us out of the stark images of survival around us and celebrated the child in all of us, supplied with fearlessness, receptivity, and trust.
When I recall that moment, I remember that the child of joy is the child of God that centuries of religious and political wars can never extinguish. This child of joy – every man, woman, and child as the offspring of God – needs no process, no goal, no agenda in order to rejoice. The rejoicing has its source in God's constant delight in His own good creation. And it's quick to abandon disappointment and discouragement. The childlike thought doesn't wait for time, place, or condition to decide how to be.
A child played a key role in the biblical account of a man named Naaman, who was in need of healing. He was a captain under the king of Syria, known for his valor and honor. When he became ill with leprosy, it was his wife's little maid who suggested that the prophet Elisha could heal him.
Perhaps it was her expectancy and natural love of good that Naaman recognized as a sign of God's presence. Listening to the childlike thought was the beginning of a humility that Naaman embraced as his own, and that opened the way for his healing. The little maid was absolutely confident that God could heal Naaman through Elisha's prayers, and Naaman saw the possibility as well.
Many are familiar with Jesus' love for children and the importance he placed on being like a child. He said, "Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein" (Luke 18:17). It can't get much clearer than that. As children of God, we all live in the kingdom of God, the reign and government of harmony. I have found that in order to participate in this kingdom and feel the atmosphere of peace, order, and complete freedom that it offers, the adult thought with its so-called wisdom of years and experience has to yield.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, based her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" on the teachings of Jesus. She, too, loved little children and their receptivity to healing. She wrote: "Willingness to become as a little child and to leave the old for the new, renders thought receptive of the advanced idea. Gladness to leave the false landmarks and joy to see them disappear, – this disposition helps to precipitate the ultimate harmony" (pp. 323-324).
Sometimes being like a child doesn't feel as if we're doing enough because it doesn't come from a list, plan, or formula. But the childlike thought reaches beyond what is often not seen by the senses. It accepts that God is here, and without reservation rejoices in the great presence of Love's harmony.
The wolf also shall dwell
with the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together;
and a little child
shall lead them.