Thumbing through the Bible this morning I came across a book I really hadn't even heard of before -- Lamentations. Ringing in at not even a full seven pages and five chapters, I suppose it would take a deliberate search to look for it, if not find.
Needless to say, my wandering spirit took me there this morning without so much as a foot dragging or my chin hung down; it was as if I knew where I needed to go.
Now, for those of you who do not know G -- I go to God often -- usually swearing that something has gone wrong or crying over injustice if not a broken heart; but on a good day, I keep it to simple shout outs of joy, "oh thank God" or I am resting my head on my pillow, at the end of my day, giving thanks for the first five things that come to mind. That's usually it.
I am not one to go to the Bible -- let alone read an entire chapter of it at one sitting; I'm just not that way. And certainly I'm not one to study it, know the authors, or understand the fullness of each Book; for each one has a history, the reason for it's existence, an occurrence in the day in the life that prompted such exalted pieces of literary magnificence. Even an unbeliever would have to give it that -- all together, the Bible is extraordinary.
The Book of Lamentations begins with a solemn realization,
"How deserted lies the city,
once so full of people!
How like a widow is she,
who once was great among the
She who was queen among the
has become a slave."
And it just gets worse from there; dwelling on the afflictions of a lost world, the fallen temples of Jerusalem, the loss of dignity and might, the disgrace of a people, and finally falling to their knees in prayer "because of this our hearts are faint, because of these things our eyes grow dim"...
seriously? Sure this isn't Revelation's?
seriously? Sure this isn't Revelation's?
Anyway, in it's final words, the people find themselves looking upward towards the Lord,
"Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that
we may return;
renew our days as of old
unless you have utterly rejected us
and are angry with us beyond
I couldn't make things up any better...
The Jewish faith calls upon this Book, Lamentations, reading it's entirety, as part of the annual festival of Tisha b'Av -- which usually occurs, according to the Jewish calendar year, in July or August of each year (for 2010, it falls on July 19th -- marking the 5770 year since the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC); beginning at sundown and lasting into the following day, the anniversary has grown to remembering all things unkind to the Jewish people, the hours spent fasting and praying together.
While to this day and every Friday afternoon, Jews gather at the "Wailing-place" in Jerusalem, clinging to an ancient portion of an old wall of Herod's temple; there you will find someone kissing the stone wall and watering it with their tears -- lamenting the downfall of their holy city.
A culture, it's celebrations and lamentations, lives on through it's people.
If one day the people of the Jewish faith simply stopped going to the wailing wall, or ceased the reciting of the Book of Lamentations in it's temples around the world, soon the tradition -- along with the fullness of memory and reason for the season -- would be lost. It would take no longer than a generation to begin the life of living an assumption; the generation after that, a life of little recollection; the one after that, a life of no memory at all.
And then, out of no where and somewhere, awoke this morning was the overwhelming thought of things I wish to remember!
In this age and upon this morning, where even Independence Day, Christopher Columbus, Paul Revere and Christmas are each under attack in the state of Texas -- under the authority of the delinquency of their own Department of Education and the School Board -- all I can do is rest my thoughts in lamentation against the will of a few people who seek to tweak just a few bits and pieces of history, unaware of the destruction which lies ahead. For they seek to destroy our temples!
In all their angst and concern to take away the Judeo-Christian roots of our nation, my belief is that it will only affirm our faith even more; as long as there are people who remember, we will prevail; as long as there are those of us of faith, we will endure and live on forever. That is the doctrine of our faith; the peace that passes all understanding and that which hopefully sustains us, to live and reign inside us and to carry on.
The funny thing about history is that once it's out there, it's done; you can't take it back.
The entire Department of Education cannot change history; it speaks for itself, through the words of people who were there.
From the book Christianity and the American Commonwealth:
"Harvard College, the first institution for the promotion of higher education in the American colonies, was born of religious convictions. The colonists said 'It is an object near our hearts to have an able and learned ministry when those of the present age are laid in their graves.'...It's founder was a minister of the gospel -- Rev. John Harvard, whose name it bears -- and to it he generously gave one-half of his estate, 800 pounds, and his library of three hundred and twenty volumes. The mottoes upon the two of the ancient seals of the college ar In glorium Christo and Christo of Ecclesiae. As indicating the jealous concern for the spiritual culture of the college, this was adopted among the early rules:
'Let every student be plainly instructed and earnestly pressed to consider well that the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life, and, therefore, to lay Christ in the bottom as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.'
Nearly half of it's graduates during its first hundred years went on to become ministers; while for the first one hundred and thirty four years of its existence, every President was a minister except one, the Hon. John Leverett, who served from 1707 to 1725.
What many people misunderstand today -- referring to the lost souls of Texas -- is that our nation's Christian roots are part and parcel to the common law of it's people. That was how we were designed, there, then, way back when by the grace of God and a few good men; it is totally unrelated to any particular religious tenet or established church. It was a faith built around "the liberty of conscience to all men."
A tribute to a nation's lasting faith, acts of swearing upon the Bible when Inaugurated, proclamations and nearly every address to the nation's people, have emphatically and reverently been laid to rest at the hands of a Supreme Being -- call it whatever you wish.
Fact is, the pages of our history are chock-full of our fundamental belief and praise of an Almighty God.
Find for yourself.
...No school board can ever get around that, nor impede it's progress or favor in the hearts and minds of the majority of us still alive -- for as long as we still can read -- and for as long as we can still teach our own children.
Truth is, in order to really teach the story of our nation's birth and it's first two hundred years, the school board would be bleeping out every other word, as that is just how much we turned our attention to our faith, both in each other and as a new nation, under God; the board knows our history -- they just no longer hold it in reverence nor high esteem (or else they flunked Civics 101).
I thought censorship went out with leg warmers and dictatorship...
Let's bow our heads and read a few words of wisdom from George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclamation, from 1789:
"Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint committee requested me 'to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording tham an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness'."Christianity in America is a belief that every man is sovereign (oh thank God!) -- and equally responsible for the protection of our duties, rights and rituals of a history gone by and a future yet to keep... and here by the grace of God, made in His likeness, go I.
You see, I am no longer lamenting my morning away, now am I?
Make it a Good Day, G