|Here we are standing beside former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn|
I fear this post will be a let-down because there is no way to adequately describe what it was like seeing President Jimmy Carter and hearing him teach about reconciliation this morning.
I say teach because he didn't preach. He saved the sermon for the pastor, but President Carter's message was as meaningful.
For years the former president has taught Sunday school in the sanctuary at Maranatha Baptist Church near his home in Plains, Ga. He doesn't do it every weekend, but for several Sundays each year visitors line up early to get a seat in this small country church to catch a glimpse of this man and to hear what he has to say.
The primary theme of today's lesson was reconciliation - between individuals, in families, amongst communities and nations. President Carter used the account of an unidentified, yet wise woman's role in the reconciliation between King David and one of his sons. He reminded the crowd that reconciliation was a core element of Jesus' teachings as well (in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus taught "blessed are the peacemakers").
President Carter also touched on equality. Long a champion of civil rights, equality for women and human rights in general, he reminded us that we are all equal in the eyes of God.
I found this portion of the lesson especially poignant; it resonated with something I heard in our own church recently. We were asked as a congregation to read a prayer off the screen. At one point we read aloud "We are no more deserving than others of these blessings."
The words of that statement rang deep in my heart as President Carter's message did today.
While I'll be posting more throughout the week on where we stayed and on what today was like, I wanted to start with the most important part of the trip - the message of the gospel and a man that's not afraid to speak about Christ or of what he believes is right.