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Like a child - sample

The following thought and prayer can be found on pages 126-127 of 'Like A Child' by Tony and Frances Miles:

48: 'Why Are They There?'

Hannah (six years) Jonathan (four years)


It was a cold wet day in London and the Miles family was seeking a restaurant for warmth and food. All of a sudden, Hannah saw three homeless men wrapped in sleeping bags and sheltering from the weather. Sadly this is not an uncommon sight, but new to my children. We were just about to walk past to get out of the rain, when Hannah and her brother put the brakes on and brought us to a halt. 'What are they doing, Mummy?' asked Hannah. 'Why are they there, Dad?' Then in a loud voice for all to hear, Jonathan said, 'Are they poor?'

Well, Mum and Dad were just about to find a sympathetic and helpful explanation, when Hannah fired more questions: 'What can we do? Can't we have them come and stay with us?' Jonathan added, 'Please can we give them some money?' I have to admit, I wasn't going to stop, but we did. We gave our children a few measly coins and they went over to the rough-looking men, who appeared moved by their gesture.


I learnt a lesson that day: The story of the Good Samaritan haunted the minister who was going to walk by on the other side. Yes, it was reasonable to want to protect Hannah and Jonathan, yet through them God spoke to me. In my children I saw and felt the purity of unconditional love. I was moved by their distress at the reality of homelessness and their surprise at my hardness of heart. As I went on to eat my burger and fries, I could hear Jesus saying to me: '... I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' (Matthew 25:40) Lord, forgive me! In the face of poverty, may I never stop asking, 'Why are they there?' That is, until Hannah's question no longer needs to be asked.


Bible Readings:


The Good Samaritan Luke 10:25-37

The greatest commandment Mark 12:28-34

What does God ask of you? Deuteronomy 10:12-22


 A Prayer


Lord of the friendless, you spent time with those in need.

You command me to love my neighbour as myself - regardless of who that may be.

Melt my hardened heart and give me wisdom to know how I can best serve my sisters and brothers in your name. Amen.


Copyright © Anthony D. and Frances H. Miles 2003

First published 2003 by Rooftops Publishing

ISBN 0 9544038 00

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