“For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.” (Psalm 12:5)


** “Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose from the table; and advancing to the master, basin and spoon in hand, said, somewhat alarmed at his own temerity: ‘Please, sir, I want some more.’ ” 1 (Oliver Twist)

** “Miss Caroline began the day by reading us a story about cats. The cats had long conversations with one another; they wore cunning little clothes and lived in a warm house beneath a kitchen stove. By the time Mrs. Cat called the drugstore for an order of chocolate malted mice the class was wriggling like a bucketful of catawba worms. Miss Caroline seemed unaware that the ragged, denim-shirted and floursack-skirted first grade, most of whom had chopped cotton and fed hogs from the time they were able to walk, were immune to imaginative literature. Miss Caroline came to the end of the story and said, ‘Oh, my, wasn’t that nice?’ ” 2 (To Kill a Mockingbird)

** “The master was a fat, healthy man; but he turned very pale. He gazed in stupefied astonishment on the small rebel for some seconds, and then clung for support to the copper. The assistants were paralyzed with wonder; the boys with fear. ‘What!’ said the master at length, in a faint voice.   ‘Please, sir,’ replied Oliver, ‘I want some more.’ The master aimed a blow at Oliver’s head with the ladle; pinioned him in his arm; and shrieked aloud for the beadle.”¹ (Oliver Twist)

** “While Walter piled food on his plate, he and Atticus talked together like two men, to the wonderment of Jem and me. Atticus was expounding upon farm problems when Walter interrupted to ask if there was any molasses in the house. Atticus summoned Calpurnia, who returned bearing the syrup pitcher. She stood waiting for Walter to help himself. Walter poured syrup on his vegetables and meat with a generous hand. He would probably have poured it into his milk glass had I not asked what the sam hill he was doing. The silver saucer clattered when he replaced the pitcher, and he quickly put his hands in his lap. Then he ducked his head.” 3   (To Kill a Mockingbird)


The face of poverty and hunger: Walter Cunningham, the young boy who heaps his plate with food and pours syrup, a sweet delicacy, over every portion, and then feels shame, dropping his head, when a young girl questions his unacceptable behavior. A boy in age, adult in knowledge, Walter speaks to the girl’s father with a man’s understanding of farm problems. The children in Miss Caroline’s class, including Walter, are unable to connect with the imaginative cat story read to them by their teacher. Their life is one of day-to-day survival, working like adults, steeped in reality.

The face of the orphan: The young lad Oliver Twist, who dares to ask for more. For this bold act, he is publicly punished and abused in front of his peers. The adults are astonished, awed, and outraged at such a request. Reality strikes back. There will be no more food. But there will be more punitive consequences for asking.

We read the stories and imagine the faces, we see the pictures of poverty, and we watch the suffering of children. Do we close the book and not remember? Do we watch the television requests for aid and turn the channel? Do we hear the news and think, “This is not my problem.”

Our God is “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,  Is God in His holy habitation.” (Psalm 68:5) 

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)

 This is our problem. They are our responsibility. The faces of children—poor, hungry, and abused—must be remembered. And we must give them MORE.

1 Oliver Twist/charlesdickenspage.com/twist 

2 To Kill a Mockingbird/Chapter 2 https://docs.google.co

³To Kill a Mockingbird/Chapter 3. https://docs.google.com

(Sharon G. Tate blog 11/13/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

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