Tuesday, April 18, 2006

TJ's Words of Wisdom

I spent last Saturday hanging out with some good friends. We ended up at the Tidal Basin, just five guys chillin' at the monuments. The conversation took a number of turns, a sharp left here, a gentle right there. It was a great night. If Christians made buddy films, they'd probably look a lot like our Saturday. Of course, some of the conversation would have to be edited for all-age appropriateness. A couple of those sharp lefts led us off the straight and narrow path. But anyway, that's all beside the point.

My reason for bringing this up is the time I spent exploring the Jefferson Memorial. I have been to the Jefferson several times. I never really paid it much attention. To be honest, I've never found it terribly remarkable, beyond the killer view of the city from the back stairs. That is, until now.

I can only assume that recent experiences have removed the scales from my eyes and mind, and actually allowed me to process the inscriptions. I'd read them every time I've visited, but they never struck me. How could they not? Thomas Jefferson was friggin' brilliant and clearly in touch with God. The four inscriptions are excerpted from 10 different speeches or documents, and all include shameless references to God and his principles.

The first inscription I came to read as so:

"God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that his justice cannot sleep forever. Commerce between master and slave is despotism. Nothing is more certainly written in the book of fate than these people are to be free. Establish the law for educating the common people. This it is the business of the state to effect and on a general plan."

Craziness! My friend Jonathan would probably debate me on this, but I don't hear speeches like this as part of contemporary political discourse. Some of these concepts aren't even that popular in churches. The idea that our freedom is placed in jeopardy when we lose sight of the fact that God gave it to us is absolutely astounding to me. Couple that with the idea that the only exchange between a master and a slave is the absolute rule of the former over the latter and then apply that to spiritual bondage.

I suppose, as much as anything, it was what I needed to hear at that moment. I was and am eternally grateful to God for speaking to me in ways that surprise and reassure me.


Post a Comment

<< Home