You are the world’s light—a city on a hill, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light! Let it shine for all; let your good deeds glow for all to see, so that they will praise your heavenly Father. Matthew 5:14-16 (Living Bible)
Today is Memorial Day. We remember those who have died in defense of their country, and we are right to honor them. Today, I want to recall what I believe is the greatest speech in American history in order to discuss sacred.
Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.
Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate — we cannot consecrate — we cannot hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.
Lincoln was brilliant in the way he understood the idea of sacred. He knew that the battlefield in Gettysburg, just 4 months prior, had been a scene of bravery and death the likes of which is seldom seen. Lincoln was humbled by this courage and suggested that the dedication needs to be not of that burial ground- it had already been dedicated by the participants far better than that assemble could. Rather, the dedication, the making sacred of that sacrifice, could be made meaningful and be redeemed by the rededication of the living to the cause of justice and union.
So, sacred does not exist in “places”, it exists in us. It is our duty to make sacred the places that we go by our dedication to justice, and compassion. We are to carry on the message that Jesus gave in his sacrifice so that we can become “God Carriers” to all around us.
Prayer, Father, thank you for giving us the privilege of being your light in the world. Give us courage and clarity in doing so, Amen