Foster hope in children
BY BISHOP JIMMY NUNN
Many years ago, I discovered an affirmation from John Killinger’s book "Lost in Wonder, Love, and Praise." Reading it, I was filled with gratitude for my mother and thankful for the memories I have of both my grandmothers. I have consistently admired my wife as she has lived out her love for our children.
Now my daughter is a new mother, and I have returned to that statement once again. I feel such deep gratitude for the mothers in my life.
"I believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of the loving God, who was born of the promise to a virgin named Mary.
"I believe in the love Mary gave her son, that caused her to follow him in his ministry and stand by his cross as he died.
"I believe in the love of all mothers, and its importance in the lives of the children they bear. It is stronger than steel, softer than down, and more resilient than a green sapling on the hillside. It closes wounds, melts disappointments, and enables the weakest child to stand tall and straight in the fields of adversity.
"I believe that this love, even at its best, is only a shadow of the love of God, a dark reflection of all that we can expect of him, both in this life and the next.
"And I believe that one of the most beautiful sights in the world is a mother who lets this greater love flow through her to her child, blessing the world with the tenderness of her touch and the tears of her joy."
I hope on this Mother’s Day weekend that you, too, will be filled with gratitude for mothers who have nurtured you with their love. Yet I realize that many people, especially in childhood, do not experience the same blessings that I have experienced.
But the United Methodists of Oklahoma have always valued the children and sought to love them all — especially those who face daunting challenges in life.
My heart breaks when I consider the plight of children in foster care, especially those who become separated from their siblings. It is heart-rending for me to imagine the challenges a child must face when all alone.
Today, about 10,000 children in Oklahoma find themselves in the custody of the state’s foster care system. Many others are solely dependent on grandparents or other extended family for a place to call home.
Sibling groups of three or more most often cannot be placed in the same home, for lack of space.
Our United Methodist Circle of Care is developing a response to address the needs of siblings who are within the foster care system. The Legacy of Care project is a creative vision that will keep children together in the system, in safe and healthy settings.
When this vision is fulfilled, children in the care of the state no longer will be torn apart from their siblings.
This year as you celebrate mothers in your own life, consider extending that celebration by participating in our Annual Conference Offering for the Circle of Care. This offering will support children most at risk, who yearn for hope.
We can give them hope.
The bishop recommends
An enthusiastic reader, Bishop Jimmy Nunn is suggesting books that he finds influential. From the Classics of Western Spirituality collection, he recommends “John and Charles Wesley: Selected Prayers, Hymns…” (Frank Whaling is editor.) The bishop describes the book as “the best primer on the Wesleys that I know. Just the intro is worth the price; then you get their writings, too.”