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Across the Pastor’s Desk: Words bring life, meaning daily

Across the Pastor’s Desk by Todd Walsh

The first words of the Bible are a remarkable sentence. That sentence spans three verses. It speaks volumes and proclaims a divine revelation from the moment of creation to this very day.

Todd Walsh

The subject of that first sentence is “God.” The verb in that sentence is “said.” The reading is familiar to generations:  God said, “Let there be light.” It is the voice of God that creates. God’s voice creates light and life and you and me.

These first words of the Bible tell us much about the nature of God. God’s nature is to create, to bring life and to sustain life. It is not in the way of God to destroy or to kill.   It does not take long in the Bible before God’s nature is challenged by the folly of the man and the woman of Genesis 3. But God reconciles. God not only finds a way to sustain life but also to renew it with reconciliation.

Are not these things what we are to be about?  Light and life are marks of God and the men and women God has made.  We live in relationship with our God, and we live in relationship with one another. And that relationship is guided and shaped by reconciliation and renewal. Hate has no place in the heart of God or the life of God’s people. And we choose a master other than God when we despise another human being God has made.

We see in Genesis 1 that God gives life. We see in the latter part of the Bible that is the New Testament the pinnacle of the life that God creates. It is the life of Jesus, who gave himself for others. Our Lord Jesus did not seek to destroy the lives of others. He came to change life and renew life. And those who claim his name and seek to follow him are to be about those very things.

The chaplain of the United States Senate Barry Black prayed this prayer in the early morning hours of Jan. 7 in preparation for the adjournment of a joint session of Congress. The prayer speaks well to that moment and those who heard it. It can also speak well to all who dwell in this land.

“Lord of our lives and sovereign of our beloved nation, we deplore the desecration of the United States Capitol building, the shedding of innocent blood, the loss of life and the quagmire of dysfunction that threaten our democracy.

“These tragedies have reminded us that words matter and that the power of life and death is in the tongue. We have been warned that eternal vigilance continues to be freedom’s price.

“Lord, you have helped us remember that we need to see in each other a common humanity that reflects your image.

“You have strengthened our resolve to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies domestic as well as foreign.

“Use us to bring healing and unity to our hurting and divided nation and world. Thank you for what you have blessed our lawmakers to accomplish in spite of threats to liberty.

“Bless and keep us. Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to do your will and guide our feet on the path of peace. And God bless America. We pray in your sovereign name, amen.”

Todd Walsh is director of spiritual care services at Thorne Crest Senior Living Community in Albert Lea.