In the Old Testament (Judges 13) a man named Manoah and his wife are visited by an angel who told them they were going to have a son. Manoah’s response to that promise finds an echo in me this morning and probably in every person the world over. Manoah prayed, “O Lord, I pray thee, let the man of God whom thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.” What are we, the world over, going to do to the children that shall be born?
In this nation and throughout the world sons and daughters are being born. In war-torn Afghanistan, Syria, and Somali, there are children yet to be born. What are we going to do about these children? There is something universal about a little child whatever the race or nationality. A newborn baby is not yet an American or a Russian, not yet a Muslim, Jew or Christian. The newborn child is a new piece of humanity not yet tainted by false labels or enslaved by them. Who knows or cares into what nation or race or religion a child is born? What will we do with the child?
When Jesus’ disciples were discussing who is the greatest in the Kingdom of God, Jesus placed a little child in the midst of them, a teachable, humble, open-minded child with the possibilities of growth, and said,“Except you become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Another time Jesus talked about what it means to welcome the Divine into our lives as a guest of our souls, and he said, “Whoso shall receive one such little child…receives me.”
In this catastrophic world with its wars and hates, a little child seems pathetically small, but in our intelligent moments we know he/she is not. The child of today and the child of tomorrow are the future tense of our world. The love of children is a universal bond that across all racial, religious and national barriers makes all of us brothers and sisters. If we can’t buy into God’s Dream as a reality, at least, I hope, we can join Manoah in prayer, “Oh, Lord,…teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.”