The Neglected Child

She’s our sister, let’s make her better!

A message to celebrate One World Week

Read: Matthew 22: 34-46

I would like to sing, but I wont’t. The song would be: He’s got the whole wide world in his hands, He’s got the whole world in his hands….

The world is like a new born child that a Father looks at in awesome wonder at the beginning of a great love story. It is a love from the beginning that has no ending!

As a mother can never forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she bore so the Father has the name of the child engraved on the palms of his hands. (Isaiah 49: 15-16) He holds the world in his hands with everlasting love. As a mother comforts her child so God will do the same for the world. (Isaiah 66: 13)

It is a wonderful image that Isaiah paints of peace flowing into the world like a river with streams flooding the nations with wealth. When we see it we will rejoice and flourish like grass….

The world is in a mess, but the Prodigal Son was in a pig sty when he came to his senses and went running home to be embraced by the waiting arms of his father. (Luke 15: 11-end) We can be dead but when love finds us we live again.

God loves the world so much that he doesn’t wait like a hopeful father for her to return, but sends his one and only Son to save her. (John 3: 16) Love is the greatest healer so Jesus comes to make the world better than it is, but he makes people better first. The better we know Jesus, the better the world will be. It might be dying, but love can help it live again.

God is a busy parent and so gives humanity the responsibility to care for the child, but we have neglected her and sometimes even physically abused her. A bit like the young prodigal we’ve wanted what we can get for ourselves rather than what we can do for our Father, so run off for the night when we promised to do the child minding! The child suffers, but love can restore her beauty! When Dad asks us to look after our sister we go for a night out with our friends and when we get back she’s crying and not well. Dad isn’t happy, but love can make her better — and us!

To love is the greatest command because that is the image of God that has been within us from the beginning. God IS love and is enfolding all the world in one embrace; his unfailing grasp is holding every child of every race; and when human hearts are breaking under sorrow’s iron rod, that same sorrow, that same aching wrings with pain the heart of God. It’s an eternal love that was present in the beginning and has no ending.

It is a love expressed through Jesus Christ who came to save the world by living in the heart of human flesh and bones. To love God with all our heart, with all our soul and with all our mind means that we will give ourselves to God so that we can show that very image in which we were created to our neighbours.

Our faith, our belief, hangs on these two commandments. They are like two nails we bang into the wall and on them we then hang a picture of the image of God. Without those two nails our picture falls down. How many times have you found your picture on the floor?

The image that Jesus shows, and the message he delivers, is not another of human origin because his father wouldn’t refer to him as Lord. He would say, “my Son” as a voice did before he was baptised (Matthew 3: 17) and on a mountainside (Matthew 17: 5). “This is my Son, whom I love!” Do we need to ask any more questions about who he is and if not let’s get on with the job to be done and make this world a better place.

If we are going to make the world better we’ve got to love our neighbours in the same way that we love God. Brother, sister, let me serve you, let me be as Christ to you; pray that I may have the grace to let you be my servant too. As the hymn continues to say we are pilgrims on the same journey so we look after each other whatever race, faith or culture people may be. When we know the love of God better we will make love better known to our neighbours and we will then make a better world.

If we love God and love our neighbours we will want to protect people against rising tides, forest fires, pollution and exploitation so the world will be better than it is and as good as it was in the beginning.

Jesus was sent to save the world God loves and only love can save it. So, as Diana Ross once sang, “reach out and touch somebody’s hand and make this world a better place if you can!” We can: with Love!

The World is like a child God loves and wants to make her better. She is the sister we neglected, but let’s help make her better!