Headlines from the New York Times for Monday, April 16, 2018
Going to Church With Jimmy Carter
I knew I was in trouble as soon as I pulled into the parking lot of the Quality Inn in Americus, Ga., last Saturday night. It was long past dark but I could see well enough to note the out-of-state license plates — New Mexico, Pennsylvania, California, Alaska — places far from this peanut-farming land.
We were all there for the same reason: to see Jimmy Carter teach Sunday school at the Maranatha Baptist Church in the nearby town of Plains. And if the crowded parking lot was any indication, finding a seat the next morning would be a challenge.
After the inauguration of Ronald Reagan in 1981, President Carter returned to Plains, his hometown. Throughout the longest and most influential post-presidency in American history, he has continued teaching Sunday school, and the public is always welcome to sit in.
President Carter’s commitment to human rights — executed largely though Habitat for Humanity and The Carter Center, which works to eradicate poverty and disease and cultivate democracy — earned him a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. In his acceptance address, President Carter said, “God gives us the capacity for choice. We can choose to alleviate suffering. We can choose to work together for peace.” Even when he isn’t teaching Sunday school, his unwavering Christian faith informs everything he says and does.
(This is an excerpt of an editorial by Margaret Renkl in the New York Times. The entire excellent editorial can be found in the on-line copy of the paper.)
Readings from the Gospel of John for Monday, April 16, 2018
Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14.6).
If I were to paraphrase Jesus’ words, I would put them like this: “Jesus is the way to know what is really real, so that we can experience life.”
There is so much that is false or confusing in our world today. It is difficult for a person to know who is truly interested in our welfare versus who wants to manipulate us for their own gain.
A regular reading of Jesus’ life and teaching that is found in the first four books of the New Testament will help us follow him. As we follow Jesus, we will discover what is really real (i.e. the truth), which will lead us to a very fulfilling life.
Prayers for Monday, April 16, 2018
Dear God, please help us learn from Jesus what is really real in life.