"We are all connected — as human beings with one another, as Americans with other Americans, as one nation with all others, and as the human species with the whole of our environment. The behavior of each has consequences for all. Our decision making must consider the welfare of those others in addition to our own, for they are intimately connected. With a world population of seven billion we can no longer — if indeed we ever could — afford to ignore those interconnections. The welfare of the least among us and around us will eventually be our own.

"As Christians — indeed as people of faith of any tradition — we are called to tend to the needs of these least among us. Our response to them must be the response of faith. God gives us a new heart to do this work, and every time we gather to do it, God offers a pacemaker jolt to tweak our heart's rhythm. The challenge is this: Will our hearts respond with a strengthened beat, in tune with God's own heartbeat, sending more life out into the world?

"We are all running down the same road, and our task is to break through the obstacles and make the road smoother for one another. If you read the Hebrew Scriptures closely, you discover that God's promise of full larders and planted fields and repopulated cities is followed by metanoia — a new mind and a new heart."