On October 4, Christians the world over remembered one of the greatest heroes of our faith—Francis of Assisi. He was born the son of a wealthy merchant in a society much like our own. The gap between the rich and the poor was unacceptably wide. Christians and Muslims were killing each other in the name of God. Both the church and the world were going through great change.

Francis was not always popular, but he was always Christian. He was one of the first to criticize capitalism, one of the first environmentalists, a church reformer, and a conscientious objector to war. His social activism was the natural outworking of his love for God, and his belief in the Bible. These are the words to his famous prayer:

“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon,

Where there is discord, union,

Where there is doubt, faith,

Where there is error, truth,

Where there is despair, hope,

Where there is sadness, joy,

Where there is darkness, light.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.”

Dr. Robert Wilkerson is a minister, writer, and founder of People for the Christian Way, an organization whose mission is to encourage all people to practice Christian principles in business, politics, and every area of life. drbobwilkerson@bellsouth.net, http://www.peopleforthechristianway.com