King’s “I Have a Dream” speech stunned an entire nation to self-examination. Reagan’s “Boys of Pointe du Hoc” D-Day tribute still makes me weep, 34 years later. Great speeches do more than inform: they inspire.
It is not enough for inspirational communication to stir the heart to action. The paramount question is always, “Towards what end?”. Inciting a mob is not hard. Any person appealing to base fears can do it. We’ve seen it done often. We have become reflexively cautious about anyone able to stir our hearts to action.
Two men talked with each other in an effort to sort out the violence which had compromised their religious observance. Their Sanctuary had experienced a riot. The local authorities had cracked down and, in the name of ‘peace and stability’, three men had died. Well, more that “died.” The three men had been executed on the whims of an angry mob seeking a scapegoat. It was all very confusing to the two men as they walked together.
But a stranger entered into their dialogue. After a few questions this stranger did something phenomenal. He made sense to them. He showed them the larger picture of their religion. Yet, the stranger intrigued and provoked them without saying anything new. He made them see what they already knew from a profoundly different perspective.
Eventually, after the stranger left, the two men said, “Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (Lk. 24.32)
Jesus did not write new Scripture on that day. He interpreted known Scripture through Himself. Jesus coming alive in Scripture is the best “heart-burn” there is! We should not fear it. We should welcome it.
When was the last time Jesus made your heart race?