The Two Tasks -- By: Charles H. Malik
JETS 23:4 (December 1980) p. 290
The Two Tasks1
I speak to you as a Christian. Jesus Christ is my Lord and God and Savior and Song day and night. I can live without food, without drink, without sleep, without air—but I cannot live without Jesus. Without him I would have perished long ago. Without him and his Church reconciling man to God the world would have perished long ago. I live in and on the Bible for long hours every day. The Bible is the source of every good thought and impulse I have. In the Bible God himself, the Creator of everything from nothing, speaks to me and to the world directly—about himself, about ourselves and about his will for the course of events and for the consummation of history. And believe me: Not a day passes without my crying from the bottom of my heart, “Come, Lord Jesus!” I know he is coming with glory to judge the living and the dead, but in my impatience I sometimes cannot wait and I find myself in my infirmity crying with David, “How long, Lord?” And I know his kingdom shall have no end.
I apologize for this personal witness and ! know you will take it with a charitable heart.
I. The Spiritual Task
Nothing is as important in the world today as for the Christians of America to grasp their historic opportunities and prove themselves equal to them.
I say “the Christians,” but I must add also “the Jews,” because what is fate-fully at stake today is the highest spiritual values of the Judeo-Christian tradition. If the highest Christian values be overturned, so will the highest Jewish values.
Perhaps never since the twelve disciples and St. Paul has any group of Christians been burdened by providence itself with the responsibilities now devolving upon the Christians of America.
By “Christians” I mean at once the Protestants, the Catholics and the Orthodox. The intensity of conviction, suffering and witness being evidenced today in the Orthodox world, especially in Russia, is something for which the living Lord must be profoundly thanked. The Catholics under the eminent leadership of that remarkable man, John Paul II, are manifesting an immense vitality all over the world. But materially, politically and morally the Protestants of America command absolutely unprecedented resources, and spiritually they are in a state of creative ferment. In one brief sentence Billy Graham expressed this in his message on the occasion of the groundbreaking ceremony for this Center on Septem-
*Charles Malik, formerly Lebanese ambassador to the United States and president of the United Nations, is professor of history at the American University in Beirut, Lebanon.
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