I was in a used bookstore recently, not really looking for anything particular but simply musing over the collection of spines. Alone and contented to be that way, I slowly walked up and down each aisle, coffee in one hand and a couple of books in the other. I blissfully looked over the colors, the words, the typesetting of each spine. I sipped my coffee and wondered what each author was trying to convey in these choices. How difficult it must be, I thought to myself, to arrive at one short title to sum up an entire book. In that title the author must capture my attention and pique my curiosity. He must speak volumes to me without saying much at all. He must make me want to slide the book off the shelf and crack open this possible treasure trove of information and knowledge. Just as I was about to leave the section on Foreign Politics, a bright blue spine with beautiful lettering caught my attention. “Cherishing Men from Afar.” The book itself is about Chinese foreign relations, but I simply adore the title. Now there’s a title, I thought, from which endless words and volumes could be–and probably already have been–written.
In his commentary on the book of John, Scottish minister Alexander Maclaren, eloquently points out that “the lost are seeking rest for their hearts, a home for their spirits, perfect truth in their understandings, perfect beauty for their affections and perfect goodness for their conscience.” And they do not even know they are seeking these things until they are faced with turmoils and trials which cause them to ask where hope can be found. We know these things ourselves, dear Brothers and Sisters, and in so knowing, we seek these precious truths for the lost. We are called to cherish these people, the lost and enslaved, and pray that their hungry souls find perfection in the knowledge, grace and mercy of one God, one Father, our Christ and Savior. Hence, we cherish these men from afar.
Copyright (c) 2009, Angela Zimerman, New Albany, Indiana