"Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me." (Mark 9:37 NRSV)
I heard a story about John Ruskin, the great English art critic of the nineteenth century. Ruskin was a brilliant man with a true love for beauty. His letters reveal his knowledge about and love for the finer things of life. His travels in Italy have provided us with enchanting watercolors of Venice and other cities, as well as drawings of rocks, trees, even hailstones, all testifying to his keen perception of beauty everywhere. Here was a man of great sensitivity to everything--except those things that really matter.

Once he was in Bologna, drawing a woman with a baby in her arms. Merely looking at the light and shade in the folds of her dress made him ecstatic. In a letter, Ruskin describes his delight. Then, incidentally, he mentions another fact: the baby, wrapped in those beautiful folds, was dying of hunger. By his tone it is clear he felt no responsibility to remedy the situation.

If we do not care about others, what does that say about our faith?

Dear God, help me to truly care. Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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