Simply Kay D. Rizzo

Profound


T HERE’S AN OLD STORY, APPARENTLY BASED ON AT LEAST A KERNEL OF TRUTH, THAT HAS HELPED ME KEEP MY SPIRITUAL SENSE OF DIRECTION, ANYWHERE, AT ALL TIMES.

 The story goes something like this:

The guest theologian, whose well-known scope of knowledge swept across the varied disciplines of Western as well as Eastern philosophy, ancient history, biblical languages, and comparative religions, to name a few, completed his exegesis of the book of Revelations. As he stepped away from the podium, a thunderous applause echoed off the centuries-old chapel walls. The professors and graduate students of the famous Ivy League were the first to rise to their feet, while applauding all the time, to honor the wizened old man. His profound understanding of the cryptic passages of the last book of the Bible had bedazzled the most jaded of the religious scholars present.

 

With arm gestures accompanied by a loud voice the host professor finally quieted the audience, then opened the meeting for questions----as was the school’s standing custom whenever a visiting professor spoke to the assembly. Graduate students through out the auditorium sprang to their feet, most eager to bounce their complex theological queries off the old learned man. Thoughtfully, he answered each question, his answers containing the same depth and perception his lecture had revealed.

 

The assembly would have continued on into the night if the host hadn’t called a halt to the question period. However, before he could dismiss the group a young man in the front row of the auditorium, hid eyes keen with cynicism and his lips pursed into a sneer throughout much of the meeting, stood to his feet. “One more question, Sir.” A murmur of disapproval skittered through the audience. Other professors and students alike had come up against the young man’s extremely sharp, yet caustic mind themselves..

 

The student didn’t wait to be acknowledged by the host, the professor; nor did he heed his classmates’ censure. “Doctor,” he began, “you obviously know the Scriptures. You have definitely impressed us with you grasp of ancient history as it relates to Judeo-Christian ideology. And your extensive study into the world’s philosophies in their native languages is surly phenomenal as well.” The inquirer paused and folded his arms across his chest. “Please, in all your many years of research, what would you say is the single most important truth you’ve discovered?”

 

The old lecturer didn’t answer the young man immediately. After a dramatic pause, instead, he slowly walked over to a grand piano that had been pushed aside before his speech. He opened the lid covering the keyboard and played a chord. In a broken, raspy voice, the holder of doctorates in theology, biblical literature, and six ancient languages, sang the old, familiar words, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so....”

 

When the old man finished the familiar children’s hymn, he spoke directly to the questioning student, as if he were the only human being present. “Jesus Christ said, ‘Let the little children come unto me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.’ “ ”Son, all the advanced degrees in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Sanskrit that you may earn; all the studies you might do in church history, biblical exegesis, or systematic theology, are a waste of your time if you never manage to grasp the most basic truth in the entire universe, the only truth that really matters. “‘Jesus loves me, this I know; for the Bible tells me so’----a truth so simple, a child can understand it; a truth so profound, it will take you all of your time and then eternity to explore!”

 

Sometimes, yet today, when I find myself hung up on the convoluted interpretations of a verse or when I become confused by biblical numbers, dates, and definitions, I just pause to consider the students’s question, “What is the greatest truth?” And, then I remember the wise old scholar’s answer. It always comes to me in a little, still, small voice of a little child: “Jesus loves me, this I know.....” Suddenly, I am a child again. My relationship with God , the Father, is instantly restored. And, my perspective on life is realigned. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). *Kay D. Rizzo writes from

                                                                                      Tulare, California. Her

                                                                              column is a regular

feature in Signs.



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