Today is a celebration of 70 years of Israel becoming a modern nation on May 14, 1948. This has been an important global development, as this persecuted ethnic group needs a land and a national identity. The six million lost souls of the holocaust demanded that the Jews have a geographic home for protection, cultural development, and religious freedom.
In these last 70 years Israel has been a positive global force of democratic values, technological progress, religious pluralism, and frequent times of global cooperation for peace.
Today, President Trump’s administration finalized a courageous and appropriate step to establish the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, instead of Tel Aviv. This steps further supports the nation of Israel, which has been an incredible ally to the United States in the middle of the most volatile region of the world.
I grieve the loss of Palestinians who are losing their lives in protest of today’s events. I pray for their welfare and for peace. Yet, I believe the support of a strong Israel will lead to the peace that the world desires and needs.
I joyfully mourn the loss of Billy Graham upon his death today. As I grew up in the Christian faith, I often heard, “Who is going to be the next Billy Graham?” Well, there will not be another Billy Graham. That does not mean Graham is set apart as better than the rest of us. Like Elijah, Graham “was a human being as we are (James 5:17).”
There will not be another Billy Graham because of the dramatic changes in our American culture (future blog to come). Graham was known as America’s pastor, but America does not want to be pastored anymore. I studied Graham’s life pretty extensively, and like me, he was not perfect. Still, Graham knew how to handle earthly power over multiple decades in a way that honored God and lifted the reputation of Christianity. (The above picture is of Graham and friends on White House lawn in 1950 – he was close to power at such a young age). We are all so grateful this prominent star maintained his morality.
He was committed to evangelism, and turned down lucrative offers in entertainment to stay focused on the ministry. I particularly admire Graham’s outspoken opposition to nuclear weapons. In 1979, he spoke against nuclear proliferation at a time when Christians in America almost blindly supported the build up of these weapons.
In Christianity, we are always looking for the next hero, and we are usually disappointed by them somewhere along the way. Thanks Billy Graham for not disappointing us.
A lot of us are more focused, refreshed, and centered after a nature-dictated sabbath in Tennessee the last few days. This has me reconsidering once again pace, schedule, work flow, unstructured time, “white space”, and the fifth commandment.
God, help us all to live in Your balance and rhythm.