A Child Named 'Today'
Children in the Merciless Heart
says YHWH: A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel
is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are not. (Jeremiah
This snippet is a perfect example of why
Jeremiah is nicknamed
"The Weeping." It is no wonder that the evangelist Matthew appropriates
the verse to describe the heinous act of Herod
the Great who,
he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, was in a furious rage,
and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that
region who were two years old and under, according to
the time which
he had ascertained from the wise men.
fulfilled what was
spoken by the prophet Jeremiah: "a voice is heard in Ramah...." (Matthew 2:16-18)
With the aid of
such epics as Franco Zefferelli's Jesus of Nazareth, I can imagine
the scene of horror and death in Bethlehem,
as Herod's henchmen storm the unsuspecting madonnas of that land with the
short swords of the Kittim drawn and plunging for the heart; mother and
child impaled with one thrust. The
perpetrators of death soon depart, and the wailing of bereaved,
bloodied Rachels fills the air like cursed, shrill whistles.
I think to
myself, "If I could have only been there, I could have done something. I
could have blown the whistle, rang the bell, sounded the shofar.
Yes, if only some of us who are called by the Child’s name could
have been there by some means, any means, we would surely have done
something to save these precious children!”
fashion, we may apply our Jeremiah text to a modern catastrophe involving
children with little more hope than those of Bethlehem.
2.8 billion children under the age of 15 live in this world today,
a whopping 48% of the entire population.
1.5 billion of these live in underdeveloped third world countries
where the per capita income is less than $300 per year. Almost half die before the age of five. You see, our modern-day Herod is an evil spirit who is called
by names such as Bereavement, Lamentation and Weeping. Rallying an unholy trinity of Poverty, Ignorance and Disease,
he steals the lives of over 13 million children every year, 36,000 each
day, from mothers who refuse to be comforted.
winner Gabriela Mistral, who is a native of one such poverty-stricken
country, sums up the situation most appropriately:
are guilty of many errors and many faults, but our worst crime is
abandoning the children, neglecting the
fountain of life. Many of the
things we need can wait. The child cannot.
Now is the time his bones are being formed, his blood is being
made, his senses are being developed.
To him we cannot answer, "Tomorrow,"
his name is "Today."
A child named
Today is black, illiterate, impoverished, with the characteristic orange
hair, yellow eyes, and distended belly of the severely malnourished.
A child named Today lives in a hut of sticks and straw with five or
ten other family members; being the smallest, she is the last to eat.
A child named Today is full of parasites,
for she drinks from the same well or stream that her village uses
for the purpose of sewage disposal. A
child named Today has little hope for tomorrow.
She may never even have a change to meet the Savior in this life.
A child named
Today lives in the heart of the merciless sugar cane Bateys of the
Dominican Republic or in some tight space of a disease-ridden suburb of
Port-au-Prince. She has never
had the experience of drinking cool, fresh water, bathing, or dressing
properly; may never have the opportunity of attending primary school,
church, or engaging in wholesome recreational activities; will probably be
enslaved to the ignorance of voodoo and superstition for all of her short,
A child named
Today is also known by other names, one of which is Esperanza Paul.
We know little about Esperanza, apart from what little information
is provided to us by the overseas mission sponsorship dossier.
It simply says, "she lives with her parents, one brother and
three sisters in a one-roomed house near a village in Haiti.
She is twelve years old, and she attends Mission School."
as these words are, it tells us that Esperanza has been able to stay alive
for twelve years, which is no small miracle; and she is attending the
school of a Messiahian mission, which is a great miracle. "She lives" ... "she attends;"
these are important words! So
as her name suggests (for Esperanza means hope), she hopes,
just like the over-privileged children of our homeland.
hasn't it been written,
your voice from weeping and your eyes from
tears! There is hope
for the future! Your children shall come back
to you from the land
of the enemy, the land of
death. For all your work
shall be rewarded, says the Lord. (Jeremiah
threat of our modern day Herod is exponentially greater than any that
could have sprung from the prophet's imagination, there is yet a little
hope in Ramah! As long as the
Messiah lives in people, there are chances that those called by His name
will come alive like the bones of Ezekiel for the sake of children named Today
across the world. Didn't
Jesus give us the message
took a poverty stricken, third world child, a child like
today's children, and set that child
before his followers, saying, Whoever
receives one such child in my name
receives me; and whoever receives me
receives not me, but the one who sent me.
If we interpret
the Messiah's words in the light of our commitment to the Kingdom of Light,
we can no longer practice a confined, inward-bent religion, omitting the
suffering of thousands of children just nearby, while practicing our
materialistic delusions. We
can no longer close our eyes to the vision of
these seemingly subhuman beings, so far removed from our own sense
of lifestyle. Rather, we must
look to our Savior for the same gift of compassion that he had in His
earthly ministry, covet it, and then step forth in acts of redemption and
We must prepare
ourselves, then engage today's Herod in battle and fight intelligently and
tirelessly. As children
ourselves, we can no longer placate our own consciences by saying
have neither time now choice but to answer the call "today."