1380) Inauguration Day Wisdom

The Lincoln Inaugural Bible, 1861

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Today Donald Trump will take the oath of office as the 45th President of the United States.  He has chosen to use for the oath the Bible that Abraham Lincoln used in his first inauguration 156 years ago.  The nation was then, as it is now, very divided.  In his first inaugural address, Lincoln spoke to a nation on the verge of civil war, pleading for peace and reconciliation.  Four years later, near the end of the Civil War, Lincoln called on the nation to work for healing and and a ‘just and lasting peace.’  Today’s meditation includes the closing paragraph of each of Lincoln’s inaugural speeches.  These words should be taken to heart by everyone, politicians and citizens, on both sides of our great political and cultural divide.

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March 4, 1861:

We are not enemies, but friends.  We must not be enemies.  Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.  The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

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March 4, 1865:

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

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Ephesians 4:31  —  Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

Luke 6:27b-28  —  (Jesus said), “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.”

Matthew 5:9  —  (Jesus said), “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”

James 3:16-18  —  Where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.  But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

Galatians 5:22-23a  —   The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

I Timothy 2:1-4  —  First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.  This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

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O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world:  We commend this nation to your merciful care, that, being guided by your Providence, we may dwell secure in your peace.  Grant to the President of the United States, the Governor of this State, and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do your will.  Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in your fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end.  Amen.

 –Book of Common Prayer

Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and peace:  Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.  

–Book of Common Prayer

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