This past week (May 5, 2014) Secretary of State John Kerry was speaking in Ethiopia to the U.S. Embassy staff and he implied that religious tenets created more than 1,000 years ago were inappropriate for modern society. (A.P. headline)
The secretary of state said, “Some people believe that people ought to be able to only do what they say they ought to do, or to believe what they say they ought to believe, or live by their interpretation of something that was written down a thousand plus, two thousand years ago. That’s not the way I think most people want to live.”
Mr. Kerry, I want you to know that I think most people do want to live by what was written down thousands of years ago. I like suggesting selections from 2,000s or long ago that I feel that I want to grab on to and seize with all my strength. These are only tiny few that space will allow.
Exodus 20 has ultimate rules of life that I want to hold: The Ten Commandments.
“Love God, … honor your father and your mother, … shall not murder, ... shall not steal.”
Psalm 23: As I have experienced life bidding good-byes to family and friends; I am come back to find comfort in these words from the 23rd.
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. ... He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul, He leads me in the right paths for his name’s sake.”
Ecclesiastes 3: This chapter holds some of the most profound statements about life.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and time to pluck up what is planted, … a time to break down, and a time to buildup; a time to weep, and a time to laugh, a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”
Matthew 5: This chapter has reminders about life that we have known and experienced. They invite us to act and serve.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for there is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteous, for they will be filled.”
I Corinthians 13: I am reminded of the meaning of love. Love to my wife, love to my children, love to others and love in my actions. Paul’s writing here is unequaled in describing love.
“Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends.”
Mr. Kerry, I find great truths for life in those old pages from thousands of years ago. I am challenged every day from these words. I have not had the strength to live up to many of them. But, when I am weak, the words stand to remind me that I can be strong with God.
It is in these old pages that I see hope and possibilities for a better society. When I view the modern world, I see glimpses of hope, but I see too much sewage in the gutter. My hope and desire is that the old words become our direction for all of us for a better world.