Abraham Lincoln once said in a letter, “I am profitably engaged in reading the Bible. Take all of this Book upon reason that you can and the balance upon faith. You will live and die a better man.” Billy Graham, in his text Day by Day, used the comment in speaking about the sole authority in a Christian’s life, the “soul” guide that should begin and end our day. “…let the Word speak its wisdom to your soul. Let it be the firm foundation on which your hope is built” (6). I recall my mother Rose seated at the kitchen table, her hands folded and propping her head. A cup of Hills Brothers steamed familiar fragrance and the Bible lay open next to the cup. A common sight in the quiet years of the alone of her life – perhaps a familiar event in the times I was too youthfully ‘busy’ to notice, too young to realize the importance of her example. That picture hangs amidst the lilacs of memory, the sweet gentleness of peace that held her soul.
In years flitted past since the 1949 of my birth, change and technology have stripped away the mattered moments in a crushing rush. In Day by Day, Graham also notes that “From the days of the Lord Jesus Christ until about 1830, man could not travel any faster than a horse. In 1960, a man went into space…at a speed of 18000 miles an hour” (6). In the move from trot-a-trot to vapor-trailed roaring swoosh, I fear the soul of us barely clings to the tail tip rip of rushing currents. In recent years, our congregation has often spoken of, been preached to about, a distance between the brain and the heart and the challenges of the journey. We know about the briar patches and chasms that line the supposed straight trail. But what about the unknown path that lies behind the heart? The clippity-clop Amish buggy ride or the honey-hang-on gush that gets us to the soul or stone skips us right across the serene surface?
Faith gets us to the heart. I believe faith, in action based on the moral convictions it brings, gets us to the soul. How we live in faith – well, that’s kind of a storm. Technology profiles through data collection. It aggregates our economic transactions, plots our travel via GPS, lists web addresses visited, in great detail documents our web searches, makes available personal vital signs and diet – just about, if not all, data that can be measured. How is all that used? For personal improvement and review? Or focused, saturation advertising? Twitter, Face Book, Snap Chat, email, messenger, texting – across the miles loving contact with family or a blistering avenue for hate, bullying, and agenda propaganda? Artificial Intelligence. AI. A mechanism for abetting healing and finding cures, a weapon, or a means of reducing the workforce? I do not mean to anti-tech-nerd rant. Not at all. But our future very quickly will hold, as does the present in ever-increasing necessity present, a need to find a moral compass – a soul in all of this 25000MPH race into I do not know what. Our journey from mind to heart, one we Christians have made, have the scars and joys of arrival, cannot really say “Ahhh!.” We, the embodiment of “In God We Trust,” must again venture out. As Graham so artfully sums up for a world leaking away moral commitment, “losing its soul, and potentially heading for ecological or military destruction”:
Only God can give a person moral restraints and spiritual strength. While our world is shaking and crumbling, we need to realize that one thing will never change, and that is God. He is the same today as He was 10 million years ago and He will be the same 10 million years from today. We are like grasshoppers; we appear and hop around a bit on the earth, and then we are gone (6-7).
Jesus will come again. This foundation allows the joy our soul brings – heart and soul are intended to be hand-in-hand. Speaking, sharing, acting, forgiving, and loving entwine the fingers and once joined, any distance disappears. This think ends – and I must continue my hops.