Viewpoint from Dr Patrick Blossfeldt 22/10/10
This year John Lennon would have had his 70th
birthday; this reminds me of one of his greatest songs; in 1967 the Beatles were commissioned by the BBC to produce a song with a message that could be understood by all nations; John composed the song “all you need is love” which was broadcast to a global television audience of 400 million people.
Dr Elsie Widdowson, a famous researcher in the field of nutrition, carried out field studies among orphans in post-war Germany in order to find out how undernourished children would grow in height and weight when given more food.
She studied two orphanages, one called Beinhaus (German for bone house) and the other Vogelnest (meaning bird’s nest); if these names are in any way indicative then you can imagine what the kids must have looked like: bird-like lightweights with skin over bones.
She gave extra rations of bread, jam and orange juice to Beinhaus and used Vogelnest as a control with no extra food handed out to them.
After six months she found to her surprise that the Vogelnest orphans had grown more than the Beinhaus kids although they had received less food.
So she reversed the conditions, took the extra rations away from Beinhaus and gave them to Vogelnest. After another 6 months she found that this time the children from Beinhaus who had food taken away from them had grown better than the Vogelnest kids with increased rations. She was perplexed: it almost seemed as if one had to starve kids in order to make them grow, so she looked into her data and discovered that there was a story behind the story.
There were two particular care workers employed in both orphanages but not working together at the same time.
The first was a warm-hearted woman who loved the children and cared for them affectionately. The second was a stern and harsh person, a disciplinarian who demanded obedience and bossed the children around.
By a strange coincidence the compassionate carer started work at the homes when the food rations were reduced and the harsh one arrived when they were increased.
All you need is love (although of course food is helpful too)
God is Love and the Christian faith is about responding to His love.
It was the love of Jesus Christ that led him to give his life on the cross. He summed up what God wants from us in two commands: Love God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength and love your neighbour as yourself
This love is a love of action not feeling; I don’t have to like my neighbour in order to love him/her. (Who is my neighbour? Luke 10: 25-37)
When have you last loved your neighbour? A random act of kindness to a stranger, a word of encouragement to someone longing for it, a smile at someone whom nobody smiles at, a visit and chat to someone who feels lonely and lost, a gift given to the person who gets no gifts, ...?
Love is powerful; it not only makes children grow better but brings healing and new life to all people