Images Not Imagination

A picture is worth a thousand words, or at least wisdom claimed this at one time.  Here are three images that caught my attention.

First from the Dayton Art Institute which recently had an origami art display.  A piece entitled “Twisted Holy Book” by  Miri Golan (2014):


The holy book is opened and there is an outpouring from the book as the meaning of the words expand beyond the limits of the book itself.  The words have life in them and a force like the living water Christ mentions – they are moving, flowing, interacting with the reader of the words who in turn gives them life, an incarnation so that they can be observed by others who cannot see the book.  If the words remain print on a page, they are lifeless, but when they flow from the pages into the world, into our hearts then they expand in a divine way – eternal and infinite.  We, the readers, of course, have to be willing to allow the pages of life to enter our lives.  We have to be looking for the living God on every page to see beyond the ink into the infinite.  When we move beyond the words on the pages, we come to experience the Word of God to whom the Scriptures bear witness.

The second I saw in the Indianapolis Museum of Art was painted in 1864  by Frederic Edwin Church and is called “Our Flag”:


The year it was painted America was in the midst of the Civil War, a depressing time for the country with a lot of hopelessness, and yet the artist still had a hope in “The triumph of America.”  The country was completely divided by the partisan politics of the day, by the evil of slavery – and the division sometimes pitted family members against each other.  Yet, America still symbolized something – an ideal, a goodness that could rise above the turmoil, above the fray.  And perhaps even the darkness was needed to make people want to find the light – to help them understand there is a light beyond the immediate controversy which can shine on us and through every darkness.  It might give us hope that America is greater than what the extremists on the left and right push for and refuse to compromise on.  Maybe the ideal will be the unifying factor that will enlighten and inspire our politicians to work for the common good, not for a political party when we realize the ideal is multifaceted and we may just be looking at it from different sides.

The third work I saw at the Denver Art Museum, entitled “Peace: The Beauty of Friendship Overcomes the Beasts of War” by Steff Geissbuhler (1986):


This one brought a smile to my face as Godzilla and King Kong, mortal enemies in the movie hold hands and share an ideal.  The beasts of war are in our heart – individually but also collectively as a nation.  We can overcome and tame those beasts, humans actually can rise above their passions if they choose.   We as creatures in God’s image can rise above our mere animal nature.   If we understand that we are a small piece of the big picture which is unfolding, and that we are not God, not even Godzilla, but are human, capable of soothing the beasts within ourselves, capable of opening our hearts to allow the God who is love to dwell in us.   We may disagree but our warfare need not last forever.

MLK Holiday 2017

Enshrined in the National African American History Museum in Washington, DC, are words by Archbishop Iakovos who was the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in America from 1959-1996.   He was well known for his support of racial equality and civil rights.


He was a visible presence with Martin Luther King in America.  By his life he indicated the importance of living the Gospel by supporting human rights.  For many migrants who brought with them their Orthodox faith to the American shores, they were looking exactly for civil and human rights, and some suffered rejection by those who saw this “foreign invasion” as endangering American society.  We all have benefited from those who have fought for the rights of minorities.  Besides the National African American Museum in Washington, DC, I would highly recommend to all the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, OH.   These museums do present us with our history as Americans – and the ongoing efforts to keep us all free.


Thanksgiving 2017

A prayer for Thanksgiving Day

O Lord Jesus Christ, our God, the God of all mercies and compassion,
Whose mercy cannot be measured and Whose love for mankind is without limit: As unprofitable servants we bow down in reverence and fear before Your gracious majesty, and we humbly offer You this Thanksgiving for all the benefits You have bestowed upon our nation and our Church.

We glorify, praise, hymn and magnify You as our Lord, Master and Benefactor.  We bow down before You in Thanksgiving for Your immeasurable and priceless loving-kindness.

We pray that in the same way that You already blessed us, heard our prayers and fulfilled them, so also in the time to come as we flourish in love and virtue as a result of Your blessings grant always to accept our thanksgiving supplications and grant that we may bring glory to Your Holy Name each day that we walk on this earth.

Deliver our Church and our nation from every evil circumstance, and continue to accept, bless and prosper the work of our hands.
O Lord, grant us peace and tranquility so that we may live in godliness all the days of our lives. Count us always worthy to offer you thanksgiving, to tell about your wonderful blessings, and to sing praise to You for all the benefits you bestow upon us.

In humble gratitude we praise Your Name together with Your Father who is from everlasting and You Most Holy, good and consubstantial Spirit.  Amen.

Thanksgiving morning, 23 November 2017, there was a rainbow in the sky just at day break. A beautiful sight for Thanksgiving morning.

 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. When the bow is in the clouds, I will look upon it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.”    (Genesis 9:12-16)

Twilight’s Last Gleaming?

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn’s early light,

What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming?

On Memorial Day, I visited the Dayton National Cemetery.  This is the final resting place for several of my parishioners who also served in our nation’s armed forces.

Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro’ the perilous fight,

O’er the ramparts we watch’d, were so galantly streaming?

One sees the numbers of graves of soldiers in one tiny part of our country, and one realizes the enormity of the sacrifices made by so many.  On so many beaches and battlefronts, countless dreams of young men and women died, disappearing stars in the heavens that will never glitter again – and yet they were extinguished so that the rest of us could see and enjoy the light.

And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,

Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.

Perhaps  in our flags we still see those stars, the dreams of those who are no longer dreaming about this world.  We must live so that their lives are not simply lost, but are the sacrifices upon which we build a better America.  They gave up their dreams so that we can realize ours.  That is why we need to fight our tendencies to divide and to polarize and instead build up and build together these United States.

O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

(The Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key, 1814)

Each grave is individually marked by a small flag, but it is the same flag no matter how different the people.  And in the cemetery, no matter how different they were in life or how they disagreed, now they rest in peace together under that same one flag.  We the living need to work together so we can enjoy the peace for which they sacrificed.  They are free from the tyranny of the world and from passions.  We need to struggle against those same tyrannies.

President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation 1863

Lincoln2The recent U.S. presidential election was particularly rancourous and divisive.  There was unrest after the election as some were so shocked by the results that they couldn’t even accept it.  Even through the Thanksgiving  Holiday, some were still unsettled by the results of the election.  All of that made me call to mind President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863.  Talk about a divided nation – at that time we were in a civil war.  Yet, despite the war and the divided country, Lincoln still could see there were plenty of things for which the American people could be thankful.

And though Thanksgiving is already past us, I felt it is good for us, as Americans, to remember those things for which we owe our Creator thanksgiving, even in times of uncertainty or unrest or dissatisfaction.   Whatever our differences, however politics push us in polar opposite directions, we Americans also need to remember those gifts from God which we all enjoy and which make us the great nation we are.  Let us never forget our blessings and let us always remember that to be an American is to be thankful at heart, and to have gratitude for those gifts whether of nature or of freedom that we hold in common.

Here is what President Lincoln wrote to the nation:

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

Caesar, Jesus and the Constitution

“In a world where mainstream religion was emphatically a branch of the state, emperors took the senior priestly roles. He became pontifex maximus (‘chief priest’ in Latin) and passed that role too his successors. Meanwhile, Augustus’s court poets and historians did a great job with their propaganda. They told the thousand-year old story of Rome as a long and winding narrative that had reached its great climax at last; the golden age had begun with the birth of the new child through whom peace and prosperity would spread to the whole world. The whole world is now being renewed, sang Virgil in a passage that some later Christians saw as a pagan prophecy of the Messiah.

Constitution Detail(The fathers of the American Constitution borrowed a key phrase from this poem, novus ordo seclorum, ‘a new order of the ages’, not only for the Great Seal of the United States, but also for the dollar bill. They were thereby making the striking claim that history turned its vital corner not with Augustus Caesar, nor even with Jesus of Nazareth, but with the birth and Constitution of the United States.”(N.T. Wright, Simply Jesus, pp 29-30)



Reflecting on America

SchmemannSometimes emigres to a country see things about their new homeland that those born in the country cannot see.  Fr. Alexander Schmemann immigrated to America and found many things he loved about the USA.  He also could be insightfully critical about our culture.  In his journals he often reflected on America.  Here is one thought he penned:

“After so many hours spent watching television, I am quite impressed by this system that purges politics of that which would make it evil: hatred! This is the American miracle, whereas America’s lie, its original sin, is in its cult of riches and its denial of poverty. More precisely: happiness without wealth is impossible; happiness is identified with success. Thus, whatever is rhetorically said, in reality America does not respect the poor man, for his existence is shameful, fearful, like a secret disease. The very first basic myth, therefore, is the faith that each poor man can attain riches, ‘make himself rich.’ Now that this myth has collapsed, another myth has replaced the first: that society must make the poor wealthy, must provide for them, and the debate between Republican and Democrats consists only in how to do it.” (The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann 1973-1983, p 132)

At least in Fr. Alexander’s eyes at that time, he somehow imagined American politics were free of hatred.  American politicians could bitterly disagree, but, at least in his mind, did not actively hate one another.  One has to wonder  whether he would have still held this view had he lived to our current political divide and polarity, in which hatred seems prevalent and malevolent in modern politics.

He, like many who come from outside the U.S., also do not always see the great divide between America’s right and left.  As he writes above, Fr. Alexander saw both Democrats and Republicans accepting the same basic premises.  The goals of the two parties are the same, their difference is not in the goals but only in how to achieve the goals.  Don’t know if he would have held that same view had he lived until today.  And despite how different the two parties might portray themselves to Americans, outside the U.S. many still do not see any real changes taking place in U.S. policy no matter which party comes to power.

The American mythology as Schmemann saw it was that everyone can lift themselves out of poverty into prosperity if they try hard enough.  He felt that myth was disproved and so a new thinking emerged that if people can’t lift themselves out of poverty, then the government must help lift them up.  His contention seems to be that as Jesus said, we will always have the poor with us.   What to do about that reality, is the painful question America must face.

What I learn from this is that sometimes in the midst of political debates one can realize that the solutions being proposed to a problem may limit the real discussion needed because they frame the question in a particular way which causes people to think they must chose between the two choices put before them, when it may be true that the wrong questions are being asked which in turn misshape the approach to a solution.

Happy Birthday, America!

Irving Berlin‘s “God Bless America” is a beautiful prayer as well as a wonderful song honoring our country on its birthday.  So as we Americans celebrate our 4th of July holiday, let us give thanks to God for the blessings we have received.    And let us use the blessing we have received to God’s glory and honor – that is the best way for us to show thanksgiving to God!   We have freely received His blessings, may use them for the commonweal.

Have a safe and blessed Independence Day holiday!

God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her

Through the night with a light from above
From the mountains, to the prairies

To the oceans white with foam
God bless America
My home sweet home

God bless America
My home sweet home

For some thoughts on what freedom is in a Christian perspective see my blog Independence Day 2014.

Independence Day 2014

As we Americans get ready to celebrate our July 4th Independence Day, we can reflect some on what independence and freedom mean within the context of Christianity.   Some modern notions of independence contain ideas that were not particularly in the minds of the early Christians as they too welcomed freedom in their lives, a freedom which came with following Christ.   Modern ideas of freedom shaped by the 18th Century Enlightenment tend to focus on individualism and autonomy largely rejecting any ideas of societal expectations on and for the members of society.   Early and Patristic Christians on the other hand often saw the revelation of God in Christ to be one of love which liberates us from selfish and self -centered interests and enables us to become one with God and with our fellow human beings.   Love in their purview is the opposite of self-love.   Self-love is always focused on one’s own interests while Christ-like love is focused on the good of the other: the salvation of the other.  Here are some thoughts from Dr. Anton Vrame, Director of Religious Education for the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, about freedom:

“… in modern Western thought, the notion of freedom has focused on individual independence to the point where dependence and interdependence are virtually excluded.  According to much that is found in modern thinking, freedom is from others; it is a freedom of separation.  … this ‘individualized freedom,’ taken to its logical outcome, ultimately becomes a freedom of alienation ‘of person from society, of people from each other, of humanity from the natural world, of the personal ego from the higher Self or spiritual essence.’

Many today are searching for a way of understanding freedom in a way that reconnects people with themselves, with one another, with the world, and with God.  They seem to find their answer in a conceptual framework that considers freedom as a freedom for relationship, freedom for a communion of persons.

Human freedom is not an abstraction but a complex of personal actions, usually directed toward and typically involving other person.  Directing one’s life to a future project – a goal of some type – is achieved within a world of other people.    In order to become ourselves, others must be involved; without commitment to the freedom of others, our personal freedom is an illusion.  We cannot become ourselves by ourselves, despite the perceptions created by self-centered individuality or individualism.   The philosopher, John Macmurray, addresses this concern:

‘… True personal freedom is a freedom that chooses communion and fellowship with others, enabling and empowering persons to connect and unite with one another in order to transform themselves, one another, and the world.’

. . .     The human vocation, in this view, is to grow from God’s image towards God-likeness.  Growth and progress are not only possible but essential to human existence.  Each person is on a journey: ‘to be human is to be a traveler, always on the move.  Personhood implies constant discovery, ever new beginnings, increasing self-transcendence.’

Within the Orthodox Tradition, there is an understanding that the goal of education is to form ‘a whole person’ and that achieving this goal involves a dynamic and endless process of growth.

Growth in personhood has as its aim growth towards God-likeness, which is ultimately endless because God is a mystery: ‘ineffable, beyond comprehension, invisible, existing forever and always the same.’ Growth in personhood is growth and development of one’s humanity and is consistent with growth toward God-likeness.  ‘How could you be God when you have not yet become human?’  St. Irenaeus asks.  To grow in humanity is to grow in God-likeness, and to become more like God is to grow in one’s humanity.”


Christian freedom doesn’t mean independence from every one else on earth, but rather the opportunity to become fully human, which in Orthodox means to become god-like.   Freedom and independence are for Christians the opportunity to follow Christ and to love one another as He loves us.   Freedom and independence mean we are free to follow Christ in every aspect of our lives.

The Fathers thought the consequences of the ancestral sin included all of the divisiveness, inequality and alienation in the world.  They saw the Fall as being responsible for the isolation of individuals, the loss of love between humans, for narcissism, egotism, rivalries and tensions between peoples.  In some ways, all that the early Christians thought were the problems caused by sin became in the values of the Enlightenment virtue:  the totally autonomous person who answers to no one, is not shackled by any commandments imposed by tradition, or loyalties to family or society.   The Enlightenment picture of the “free” person sometimes looks a great deal like the person who is freed from bonds of mutual love and interdependence and concord, which in Genesis is much what Eve was like when she decided to ignore her relationship with God, Adam and creation and ate the forbidden fruit because to her that fruit looked good to and for her.  In Genesis we are created to be social, relational, beings.  It is selfishness and self-centeredness that prevents us from loving others.

Abraham Lincoln’s Rise to Greatness

Rise to GreatnessEach year around the American Independence Day holiday I read a book on American history just to remind myself of the great effort it has taken to create “America.”    This year while on vacation I read David Von Drehle’s Rise to Greatness: Abraham Lincoln and America’s Most Perilous Year.  A good summary of the book is found in the book’s epilogue where Drehle writes:

“The twelve tumultuous months of 1862 were the hinge of American history, the decisive moment at which the unsustainable compromises of the founding generations were ripped up in favor of a blueprint for a much stronger nation. In the process, millions of lives were transformed: the lives of the slaves who were to be freed, and of the slave owners who would be impoverished; the lives of the soldiers and their families who bore the suffering of the first all-out war of the Industrial Age; the lives of those who would profit from new inventions, longer railroads, and modern finance; the lives of students who would be educated in great public universities. The road taken in 1862 ultimately led to greater prosperity than anyone had ever imagined.”  (Kindle Loc. 6866-71)

Abraham Lincoln was a great man, and so a good book on a great man is a winning combination!   I really liked the book which traces the development in Abe Lincoln’s thinking during the course of 1862 on the issue of slavery, how to carry out the civil war militarily, and what it meant to preserve the union.  I felt while I was reading the book that I was inside Lincoln’s heart and head, listening to the opposing voices feuding, feeling the pressure rising as the decisions loomed ahead, and agonizing over how to hold the union together while at the same time resolving the very issue that made union impossible.  The varying, 0ppositional viewpoints and the building pressures on Lincoln were unrelenting.  Really, one wonders how he survived it all – the reports of his acquaintances were that it took a tremendous toll on him physically and emotionally.   How he worked to hold it altogether was amazing; somehow Lincoln guided the nation through very treacherous and tumultuous waters.  Lincoln who frequently offered pithy wisdom said:

“To steer a true course through violent seas, one must understand the wind and tides, despite being powerless to change them. So it was with Providence.”   (Kindle Loc. 4834-35)

Lincoln wrestled with issues of the divine will, the will of the people, idealism about what “America” meant and is.  There were countless forces over which he had no influence let alone control, and he mused over the nature of life frequently.

“Lincoln now tried to discern a divine purpose behind the string of failures and betrayals that made the summer of 1862 so miserable. At his desk one day in September, “his mind … burdened with the weightiest question of his life”—of slavery, the survival of the Union, and the role of each in the war—Lincoln took out a fresh sheet of lightly ruled paper and began writing down his thoughts. “The will of God prevails,” he started, slowly and carefully. This was true by definition: if God exists, and God wills a result, then the result must come to pass. That is the nature of infinite power. Lincoln added a second proposition: “In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God.” From these two ideas, Lincoln began methodically building his analysis, brick by brick, writing more quickly and fluidly as he went. “Both sides may be, and one must be wrong. God can not be for, and against the same thing at the same time,” he noted. “In the present civil war it is quite possible that God’s purpose is something different from the purpose of either party.” The Almighty might favor the North or the South—or neither side: Providence chooses its own goals. But the players in this great drama—the generals, whether effective or incompetent; the soldiers, brave or cowardly; the politicians and opinion makers, wise or foolish; indeed, all the “human instrumentalities” of the struggle, as Lincoln put it—must somehow perform the roles they had been given by the directing spirit of God. When John Pope met mutiny rather than triumph on the road to Richmond, it must be because God had something other than immediate Union victory in mind. All this flowed logically from the first proposition: that the will of God prevails. Now Lincoln inserted a hedge. “I am almost ready to say that this is probably true”—almost, probably—“that God wills this contest, and wills that it shall not end yet.” If one believed in a divinity shaping history, then it followed that God could have saved or destroyed the Union short of war, or ended the war already, without this painful seesaw struggle. “Yet the contest proceeds.” He put down his pen. Perhaps he was interrupted, or ran out of time, because he seems to have stopped abruptly. The final period at the end of his meditation was jabbed with such velocity that it looked more like a dash. Clearly, he wasn’t finished, because the last sentence led so obviously, so irresistibly, to the next question: Why? Toward what end was this uncontrollable force moving? Nicolay and Hay, who discovered this unfinished rumination long after the president had folded it in half, and half again, observed that it had not been intended for others; it was Lincoln’s way of ordering his own thoughts. Yet these few lines suggest a first draft of what would become Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address. In that magnificent speech, delivered two and a half years later, he completed the chain of his logic. The contest proceeds, the president declared then, because “American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove.” And because the offense was too large and too grave to be removed without suffering, God “gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came.” Slavery, Lincoln believed, was like a tumor on the neck of the American nation. Cutting it out might be fatal, but the patient would surely die if the cancer grew unchecked. Thus the president was led to conclude that God was prolonging and inflaming the war so that slavery could not survive the inferno. Providence had chosen to remove the cancer; Lincoln had no choice but to act accordingly.”   (Kindle Loc. 4839-67)

Such was the nature of the thinking of the man who held the presidency during this period of great trial for the United States.  Lincoln took diverse and irreconcilable  ideas and weighed them in his mind ever searching for what the right path was for the country.  He made choices in the most difficult of circumstances.  He was not always right but he labored hard and carefully through all of the issues put before him while also dealing with a number of personal failures in those around him.

An example of Lincoln wrestling with what is right and with the will of God:

The president had already told the delegates that he was accustomed to hearing from religious leaders on the topic of slavery, and he found it strange that while clergymen held every variety of opinion, all of them claimed to know “the Divine will.” Why, Lincoln now wondered, didn’t God take the forthright approach and reveal his intentions “directly to me, for, unless I am more deceived in myself than I often am, it is my earnest desire to know the will of Providence in this matter. And if I can learn what it is I will do it!” The attending stenographer did not record that a pause followed, but it is reasonable to assume that there was one. Then Lincoln continued on a less declarative note: “These are not, however, the days of miracles, and I suppose it will be granted that I am not to expect a direct revelation. I must study the plain physical facts of the case, ascertain what is possible and learn what appears to be wise and right.”   (Kindle Loc. 5134-41)

Lincoln had an awareness of the historical significance of the decisions he faced and the profound impact his decisions would have on the future of the country.  Facing the issue of the curse of slavery of the slaves, Lincoln weighed the issues for a long time and only very slowly and deliberately came to the conclusion that there was no choice but to emancipate the slaves as the only way forward to save the union.  Drehle writes that Lincoln

“… understood, more than many of his contemporaries, that his actions on the first day of 1863 would be far more significant than any earlier promise he had pledged and kept. As he would put it later, the Emancipation Proclamation was “the central act of my administration and the great event of the nineteenth century,” for it “knocked the bottom out of slavery.” Here was the “new birth of freedom” he would speak of so brilliantly at Gettysburg.”   (Kindle Loc. 6692-95)

It is rare to find a man with Lincoln’s depth of thought and power to weigh and analyze diverse opinions and to discern a path forward for the entire nation.   Today’s presidents face just as complicated issues and challenges, and are in need of the same powers to analyze and form decisions.  Lincoln was a giant among men.   Few other men have Lincoln’s gifts of deliberation and analysis, and few have the knack for bringing together rivals as advisors that he had.

Our presidents need Lincoln’s wisdom and understanding.   That is why they each also need our prayers.

A Prayer for our Nation’s Leaders

O our God, whose mercy is inscrutable:  Grant unto Your servants, our country’s rulers, the prosperity of Moses, the courage of David, and the wisdom of Solomon, so that they make give glory to Your Holy Name.