Lee Harder from St. Paul Lutheran Church in Bulverde, Texas sharing a few important thoughts prior to our mid-term elections to remind us who’s really in charge.
Have you ever been in the Washington Monument? It’s quite an experience. One detail that is seldom mentioned is that in Washington, D.C. there can never be a building of greater height than the Washington Monument. With all the uproar about removing the Ten Commandments and the drive to eradicate God from all things because some may be offended, this is worth a moment or two of your time. I was not aware of this amazing historical information, but I sure am grateful I know now.
On the aluminum cap, atop the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., are displayed two words: Laus Deo. No one can see these words. In fact, most visitors to the monument are totally unaware they are even there and for that matter, probably couldn't care less. Once you know Laus Deo's history, you will want to share this with everyone you know.
These words have been there for many years; they are 555 feet, 5.125 inches high, perched atop the monument, facing skyward to the Father of our nation, overlooking the 69 square miles which comprise the District of Columbia, capital of the United States of America.
Laus Deo! Two seemingly insignificant, unnoticed words. Out of sight and, one might think, out of mind, but very meaningfully placed at the highest point over what is the most powerful city in the most successful nation in the world.
So, what do those two words, in Latin, composed of just four syllables and only seven letters, possibly mean? Very simply, they say 'Praise be to God!'
Though construction of this giant obelisk began in 1848, when James Polk was President of the United States, it was not until 1888 that the monument was inaugurated and opened to the public. It took twenty-five years to finally cap the memorial with a tribute to the Father of our nation, Laus Deo, 'Praise be to God!'
From atop this magnificent granite and marble structure, visitors may take in the beautiful panoramic view of the city with its division into four major segments. From that vantage point, one can also easily see the original plan of the designer, Pierre Charles L'Enfant … a perfect cross imposed upon the landscape, with the White House to the north, The Jefferson Memorial is to the south, the Capitol to the east and the Lincoln Memorial to the west.
A cross you ask? Why a cross? What about separation of church and state? Yes, a cross; separation of church and state was NOT, is NOT, in the Constitution. Allow me to go on.
How interesting and, no doubt, intended to carry a profound meaning for those who bother to notice.
When the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid on July 4th, 1848 deposited within it were many items including the Holy Bible presented by the Bible Society. Praise be to God! Such was the discipline, the moral direction, and the spiritual mood given by the founder and first President of our unique democracy 'One Nation, Under God.'
I am awed by George Washington's prayer for America...Have you ever read it or heard it? Well, now is your unique opportunity, allow me!
"Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large.
And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love MERCY, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation.
Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
My thanks to some friends who shared this with me so I can share it with you.
And with an election of great significance looming before us, those are my thoughts.
God bless. Laus Deo!
Lee Harder, pastor of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Bulverde, Texas back from a week off spending time with my oldest daughter and, now, fiancée.
I was somewhat surprised this past week when confronted by a true-blue, dyed in the wool, spirited millennial socialist. She clearly informed me that after 40 years of ministry, I was still ignorant about who Jesus is and where He would be, politically — progressive, naturally. Who would have suspected a doctor’s waiting room to be a venue for political debate?
In attentive silence I allowed her the floor to inform me of all my mistakes of interpretation in not informing people of the real Jesus. Jesus was obviously a socialist as she counted off the proofs, leaving me exposed to her truth.
#1 Jesus condemned the wealthy.
#2 Jesus elevated women over men.
#3 Jesus was an environmentalist.
#4 Jesus supported community ownership.
As I waited, it pleased me she knew of Jesus, even if she didn’t really know about Him. When she paused to take breath, I indicated just a moment of her time for a thought.
First, I don’t believe Jesus was political — render onto Caesar what is Caesar’s & to God what is God’s — doesn’t sound all that political to me. But if I were to attach any kind of political type description to Jesus, it would be “conservative” not as today’s equivalent would I define it, but as God defines it — His way in all things or, if I’m being less sensitive to someone of another view, the right way which is God’s way.
Second, Jesus never condemned wealth, so He could be, I suppose, a capitalist. He did condemn the misuse of wealth by greed, selfishness & the like. Not the same.
Third, Jesus didn’t elevate women, He treated them as God intended, as equals in status. In fact, one could take that a lot further by saying Jesus treated all people with the same love & compassion regardless of their station in life. Hardly the progressive way which seems determined to create classes each pitted one against another. I’m sure Jesus spoke of unity.
The environment thing, I simply said Jesus walked because they didn’t have cars, but He did ride into Jerusalem. You should have seen the look I got & from someone so young.
Finally, as to the socialist ideal of communal ownership, the sharing & caring that was seen between the disciples & those that were there for them had its roots in hospitality, not an elite governing force to oversee the community’s sharing & caring by human standards, not Godly ones.
I spoke as quickly as I could, so my response was indeed brief. However, with each point, she became more observably hostile. Fortunately, I was called into the office before anything further happened. I wished her a pleasant day, which I’m sure I had already threatened.
I mentioned this exchange because in a matter of a few weeks, we will be voting in a mid-term election. Voters need to be informed voters. They should know the issues and the positions of the candidates they support. They say that this vote could determine the direction of our nation for decades to come. Maybe it will.
I just know that God would expect me to be knowledgeable and not be blinded by something that doesn’t matter, or worse, ignorant of positions that threaten our democratic principles. Our founding fathers held divine providence [God] as a blessing of guidance in the decisions we make. Any stance that endorses violence to accumulate power, the silence of all opposition simply because it is opposition & the abandonment of fundamental principles of government upon which our nation is founded should be held in contempt. Think on those things as you vote in November.
And those are my thoughts. God bless.
Karen was in church this past Sunday with no cane and no apparent limp only three weeks after having her left knee replaced. She wowed the crowd. It was great to have her there. She even came up for communion, the first in almost two months and there’s the subject of my blog. Allow me to elaborate and set the stage for my sin.
Last Sunday, September 30th, the topic for my sermon was SIN based on the gospel text from Mark 9:38-50 where Jesus said, “if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.” Well, I sinned, BIG TIME, and compounded it by trying to put the blame on someone else — Karen — or at least share it with her. In the several months Karen could not get to church for anything, much less worship, I never once brought her Holy Communion or offered it to her.
That afternoon after being in worship and taking communion, she mentioned how wonderful it was and how it would have been nice sooner. And instead of saying how sorry I was for being so negligent as her pastor and her husband in failing her, I came back with, “Well, you never asked me.” How stupid can I get and please don’t answer me.
I am so very sorry. At church I’ve got Pastor Don, our visitation pastor, to fulfill the responsibility of taking the Sacrament to the disciples of St. Paul that are shut-in. That should not have included Karen. After all, I’m right there. I pray for her renewed strength, to deal with her pain, to have her health restored to vitality every day. I pray for our love to continue to flourish which is a source for my strength, asking God that He blesses us with many more years together every day. Yet, I forgot to offer to her, to bring to her, the life giving body and blood of our Lord when she most needed it.
Some pastor I am.
Fortunately, I know she has forgiven me and I know God has forgiven me, and in writing this open confession it will help me forgive me. At least I pray it will. You can count on one thing. This week Dawn, my oldest daughter, and her fiancée, Dan, are coming to visit for several days to help “Mom & Dad” out around the house. I will certainly offer communion to them. They’ve missed a few Sundays here and there, too.
And those are my thoughts. God bless.
Pastor Lee R. Harder