Child Is a Thought of God
by Eberhard Arnold
we receive a
little child from God, a soul is entrusted to
humankind from eternity. No matter how often
this happens, each time it is a powerful event,
something unbelievably great.
We love little children because
Jesus loved them. And from him we know that the
kingdom of God belongs to them – in fact, that
the kingdom is nearer to them than to the
millions of adults.
Seen in this light, education is
no arbitrary molding of a child, as the
unbelieving world imagines. We cannot shape or
form our children however we like, according to
our own preferences. If we are to serve them
rightly, we will form them only according to the
way God has already thought of them.
a thought of God. We can only perform the
service of education when we understand the
thought of God for each child – a thought that
God has had in eternity, and still has, and will
always have just for this child. This thought of
God is the holy “So be it” for this child.
God knows what each child is
intended to become. It is the task of the
parents, the church, and the educators to help
this child become just what he or she should be,
in accordance with the original thought of God.
Through a religious sensitivity, we must attain
a vision of this thought of God, which is still
apparently hidden, and must learn to understand
it more clearly from moment to moment, from day
to day, from year to year. Then the forming of
the child will not be something we undertake
ourselves; rather, our role will consist solely
in assisting in the formation intended by God.
That is the secret of this task.
It is the same in our relationship
with every individual adult. We must see each
human being just as he or she is intended in the
heart of God, in the holy purpose of his “So be
it.” Above all, we must wish for each person
that he or she is integrated into the ultimate
thoughts of God, so that God’s final will may be
revealed among humankind: that is, the church
and the kingdom of the complete unity of Jesus
thus bear a
crucial responsibility to live in reverence for
the Holy Spirit. This is true for all aspects of
the church’s life, but it applies in an
especially holy sense to the bringing up of
children. Reverence for the Holy Spirit means
reverence for the father, who is to represent
Christ as the God-given head; reverence for the
mother, who is to represent Christ in the
likeness of Mary and the church; and reverence
for the child and for the wonderful mystery of
being a child and becoming a child.
words are taken from remarks by Eberhard
Arnold at the dedication of a newborn,
September 30, 1934. Translated by Nicoline
Maas. Copyright 2014 by The Plough
Publishing House. Used with permission.
Arnold (1883–1935) founded the Bruderhof
communities in 1920, in his native Germany.
With Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as a
blueprint, he and a handful of friends formed
a Christian community grounded in prayer,
fellowship, nonviolence, and reverence for
life. He was a prolific writer, theologian and