From the Archive – “Who Is Your Child?”

by Beth Richardson on May 21, 2015 · 0 comments

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Who Is Your Child?
by Valerie A. Foster

Who is your child, Lord?
The young boy with fresh-scrubbed cheeks,
who sits in the pew beside his parents—
or the dirty, barefoot girl who digs through
piles of garbage for a scrap of discarded food?

Who is your child, Lord?
The Sunday-school teacher who gives of his time
to teach a class of squirming six year olds—
or the man sitting in a jail cell, reading and rereading letters
from loved ones who no longer write?

Who is your child, Lord?
The young couple who prays along with their children
before tucking them into bed each night—
or the pregnant teenager who cries herself to sleep,
with no one to give her hope for the future?

Who is your child, Lord?
The grandmother who shares cookies and
bits of wisdom with her grandchildren—
or the old woman who sits alone in her empty apartment,
no longer waiting for the doorbell to ring?

Is your child
the soldier fighting for our freedom—
or the one he is fighting?

Is it possible, Lord Jesus, that we are all your children?
That you came to show your love for each one,
just as you came to show your love for me?

Gracious God, may you be born anew in our hearts,
that we might love all your children,
just as you love us. Amen.


Valerie Foster

This poem was originally published in Alive Now (November/December 2008) “Star-Child.” The writer, Valerie Foster is a writer and artist. She and her husband, David, have raised three children. Valerie leads an Adult Sunday School class at her church while she continues learning to be the person God created her to be and to live as a beloved child of God.

Valerie explains, “I wrote, ‘Who Is Your Child?’ after I returned from a mission trip to Nicaragua. While there, we visited the city dump in Managua. We saw men, women, and children searching through mounds of smoldering garbage for food or something to sell. The smoke was heavy and the odor was so strong we had to cover our nose and mouth with a handkerchief. I thought of my children, who had everything they needed provided for them. I wondered why my children should be so blessed, while these children suffered. It was a question I struggled with long after I left Nicaragua. I asked this question when I had judgmental thoughts of others, when I passed by “forgotten” people and when I heard news of another war somewhere in the world. I continue to ask this question when I struggle to see each person as a beloved child of God. And I continue to ask myself how am I called to live in light of this.

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From the Editor: Poverty

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