It was simply an introductory page to a magazine, but it caught my attention. Between the Editors Note and the Reply All pages, there it was – a page I generally pass over as I peruse a periodical – a Note from the President. It opened by referencing Isaiah 40 as “one of the loveliest chapter in the Bible. ”How could I pass up that read? In part, I quote…
“Pandemics come and go. Battles are fought and forgotten. Political powers pass in a blink, and nations rise and fall like the grass beneath the withering sun. The Word of God endures into eternity, and those who are joined to Christ will outlive the mountains and the seas. Politics and culture are not unimportant, but neither are they the hope of the world. Love requires that we engage in public life for the good of our neighbor, but it also requires that we show our neighbor the grace of Jesus Christ.
“So what can we do in this painful and perilous moment to reflect the grace of Jesus? We can demonstrate in our behavior that the eternal things remain eternal. We can lift up the wounded and speak hope to the fearful. We can be quick to listen and slow to speak. We can conduct ourselves with humility, compassion, and grace, showing kindness where it is least expected. We can honor the inestimable worth in each and every person and invite them with us into life everlasting.
“Perhaps we can even do what is most counter cultural when the culture is soaked through with hatred: tell someone on the other side of the aisle that we love them and demonstrate it in our deeds.”
Timothy Dalrymple, President and CEO of Christianity Today, reminds us of Isaiah’s words…
Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting,
“Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord!
Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God!
Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills.
Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places.
Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed,
and all people will see it together.
The Lord has spoken!” A voice said, “Shout!” I asked,
What should I shout?” “Shout that people are like the grass.
Their beauty fades as quickly as the flowers in a field.
The grass withers and the flowers fade beneath the breath of the Lord.
And so it is with people.
The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.”
… and our responsibility.
One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?” The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!” The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.32 A Temple assistant[ d ]walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.34 Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him.35 The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins,[ e ]telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits? ”Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.” Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”