Amazing. Uplifting. Timely. These are the words that crashed social media at the conclusion of her message. The inauguration of the 46th president of the United States saw 22-year-old African American youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman deliver her Scripture-laced poem, “The Hill We Climb,” with precision and poise.
The poem excited people of faith and inspired people with hope. It enthralled seasoned writers and electrified popular rappers. It thrilled schoolchildren and challenged university professors. Some believed the author meant one thing; others asserted something else. One art critic helpfully suggests, “Works of literature, such as poems and plays, allow readers the opportunity to find multiple distinct meanings in a single line. This process is not only accepted—it’s a crucial part of what makes literature so pleasurable. Indeed, one reason to revisit a literary text is to discover how its meanings have changed over time, since each reading brings new experiences and perspectives.”1
There’s another message that’s amazing, uplifting, and timely. It’s an old message, but “each reading brings new experiences and perspectives.” It’s called the everlasting gospel, epitomized by three angels (Rev. 14:6–13). Many interpretations have been offered regarding this message. Its genius, however, is that it is unfolding, compassionate, and adaptable.
Unfolding: “The third angel’s message reveals the great saving truth for this time. Its truths are constantly unfolding, and it is God’s design that even the children and youth shall understand intelligently what God requires.”2
Compassionate: “The work of beneficence enjoined in this chapter [Isaiah 58] is the work that God requires His people to do at this time. . . . With the work of advocating the commandments of God and repairing the breach that has been made in the law of God, we are to mingle compassion for suffering humanity. . . . The third angel’s message is not to be given a second place in this work, but is to be one with it. . . . This work is to be to the message what the hand is to the body.”3
Adaptable: “Every feature of the third angel’s message is to be proclaimed in all parts of the world. . . . Received into honest hearts, it will prove an antidote for all the world’s sins and sorrows. No conditions of climate, of poverty, or ignorance, or of prejudice can hinder its efficiency, or lessen its adaptability to the needs of mankind.”4
So, we are embroiled in a coronavirus pandemic, economic poverty, political turmoil, and racial unrest. Thank God for an antidote! Thank God for an eternal gospel that adapts itself to human needs. It is not fixed, static, and inflexible. It is dynamic, contemporary, and relevant. It belongs to theologians and millennials, to historians and Generation Z, to the developed world and the developing world. Love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself. Presented aright, our message will appeal to young people who have a passion for God and compassion for the vulnerable. The love of Christ constrains us to repair the breach, restore the paths, and build a bridge. So let’s amaze the world with this message.
It is a radical message of love and compassion that bridges earth and heaven and human and human. It is a revolutionary message of healing and deliverance that connects body and soul and church and community. It is a reconciling message of restoration and redemption that unites parents and children, husbands and wives, Jews and Gentiles, races and ethnicities, young and old, clergy and laity, and men and women, to fulfill the eternal prayer of Jesus, “that they may be made perfect in one” (John 17:23, KJV). When Jesus sees a people like this, He’ll come to take them to be where He is. By our actions, we can delay that day—or we can hasten it.
Amazing. Uplifting. Timely. That’s our message. It’s the bridge we build.
- “Grades 11–12 Playlist: Multiple Interpretations,” Wisewire, accessed April 29, 2021, http://www.wisewire.com/wp-content/uploads/items/4854/Demo_pdf_WN_ELA_0012.pdf.
- Ellen G. White, vol. 9, Manuscript Releases, (Silver Spring, MD: Ellen G. White Estate, 1990), 292.
- Ellen G. White, Welfare Ministry (Washington, DC: Review and Herald Pub. Assn., 1952), 32, 33.
- Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 9 (Silver Spring, MD: Ellen G. White Estate, 1990), 292.