Thursday, June 17, 2021

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Digging deeper into grace

Tom Tripp | Guest Columnist

I love our country.  Therefore, my soul is deeply grieved over what took place when Congress was in session to ratify the votes of the electoral college.

I love our country.  I love that our Pledge of Allegiance affirms that we are “one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

I love that we are not a monarchy but a representative democracy, with power vested in citizens to elect those who will lead our nation in the House of Representatives and in the Senate and in the Presidency.

I love what Bruce Catton wrote in Grant Takes Command about Abraham Lincoln’s reelection in 1864 in the midst of the Civil War: “What pleased Grant most was not merely that Lincoln had won but that this election in the middle of a civil war had gone so quietly, so much like a peacetime election, as if the country knew it was going to go on and on electing Presidents and accepting the electoral verdicts for all time to come.”  Catton records that Grant wrote a telegram to the Secretary of War, “The election having passed off quietly, no bloodshed or riot throughout the land, is a victory worth more to the country than a battle won.”

Therefore, my soul is deeply grieved over what took place in our nation’s capital, and I am deeply grieved over the things that were spoken and written and tweeted over the past months that incited the kind of mob rule and destruction that jarred our nation.

How are we to respond to the national tragedy we witnessed on January 6th, but which has been festering for the past few months?

I suggest 3 responses:

Cry.  It is fitting for us to grieve over the damage that has been done to the American Dream of representative democracy.  It is fitting for us to weep over the injury that has been done to the goal of being “one nation under God, indivisible.”  Our tears and our groans pay tribute to how dearly we love our country and to how we ache over the wounds that have been inflicted upon it.

Pray.  Pray for the healing of our nation.  I greatly appreciate one of Peter Marshall’s prayers for our country when he was Chaplain of the Senate: “Our Father, bring to the remembrance of Thy people Thine ancient time-honored promise: ‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.’… We therefore confess to Thee that: Wrong ideals and sinful living have cut us off from Thee.  We have been greedy.  We have sought to hide behind barricades of selfishness; shackles have imprisoned the great heart of America.  We have tried to isolate ourselves from the bleeding wounds of a blundering world.  In our self-sufficiency we have sought not Thy help…. We have disguised selfishness as patriotism; our arrogance has masqueraded as pride…. Lord God of Hosts, forgive us!  O God, by Thy guidance and Thy power may our beloved land once again become…a nation contrite in heart, confessing her sins; a nation keenly sensitive to all the unresolved injustice and wrong still in our midst.”

Strive together as fellow citizens for restoration in our country.  Abraham Lincoln expressed it well in his First Inaugural Address: “We are not enemies, but friends.  We must not be enemies.  Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.  The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”  And Lincoln expressed it well in his Second Inaugural Address: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”  Let us strive together as fellow citizens to bring healing and good to our land, to be a nation that is “indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”♣

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