This post is from my keynote address at the Wilberforce Weekend hosted by The Chuck Colson Center in Washington DC on April 26. My actual remarks may have differed slightly from this transcript. Part 2 will be posted in a few days.
Most of you know that William Wilberforce's pastor, John Newton, wrote the hymn "Amazing Grace." There's a lyric from that song that says, "I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see." That's what I want to talk about this evening–what does it mean to not just have sight, but to truly see?
Consider Mother Teresa. In Calcutta, India, in her community, it was their custom to take ambulances every morning to the train station. There they would pick up the dying who had been abandoned there during the night. One morning they found a man in terrible condition. Rats were gnawing on him. Maggots had eaten his flesh down to the bone. He had only hours left to live.
Mother Teresa cared for him herself. She did all she could to comfort him and sat by him all morning in prayer. At the end, he briefly opened his eyes, said "Thank you," and died. Later that day she said with a smile, "I had the privilege this morning of caring for the dying Christ." A reference to Jesus' words in Matthew 25.
Mother Teresa has been widely praised as one of the most important Christian leaders of the 20th Century. She has been celebrated for her efforts to make the invisible kingdom visible by both Protestants and Catholics, by Christians and secularists. She was a tiny Albanian nun with no wealth, no position of power or authority, no great education. And yet presidents and popes listened to her. Countless millions have been inspired by her. What was the secret behind her influence?
I suggest that what ...