"It is the best of times. It is the worst of times."
Charles Dickens' words still resonate today. Never before in the long march of history has there been a time more bountiful than our own for the great masses of humanity. In the space of the lifetimes of many of us here, diseases that were the scourge of every generation since the expulsion from the Garden of Eden have been virtually eradicated from the face of the earth. Famine, that wretched horseman of the apocalypse who hovered always nearby for most of humanity since the dawn of time has been reduced to a bit part in the remotest regions of the world.
Ignorance and the rusty shackles of its inheritance, after 100 generations and more, has finally been excised from the bequests of our fathers. By so many measures, prosperity has never been so general, leisure so commonplace and opportunities so abundant. The "good old days" really are right now today for so many of us.
Thank you, Lord, that we were born for this time.
Yet, our journey has barely begun. For you see, my brothers and sisters, though many of us have reached the Promised Land, this blessed land must still be tilled and tended, lest we starve again. Though we today, right in this moment, may have that which is sufficient, let us never for one second forget that tomorrow is not promised. The day of the locusts shall return: indeed, for some of our brothers and sisters, it never left.
And we don't have to go far to see it. Think of the thousands suffering right this minute in brutal prisons just a few miles from here. Think of the elders and children who shiver through the cold nights in poorly heated homes just a few miles from here. Think