Well, here we are, one month into the new year of 2022. In some ways, it seems like “old times all over again.” Covid is still around and life in the U.S., let alone the world, is not back to normal yet. But I am both hopeful and grateful—hopeful that we will see clearer skies, medically speaking, by summer—grateful that Covid has not touched many in our congregation.
As we enter the second month of this year, I am reminded that love is a major theme in February. Certainly, Valentine’s Day celebrates that theme with candy and flowers as tokens of our love for spouses and other loved ones. But this month also reminds me of love for our country because we will celebrate both Lincoln’s Birthday and Washington’s Birthday (I still honor both days—Feb 11 and Feb 22). Love for freedom and human dignity propelled these men in their selfless duties. As I think of them, I am grateful for all who have loved America and sought to make her the best she can be.
As we continue to journey through Covid territory and all the other craziness that seems to have enveloped our nation, let us never stop loving America. I was recently reading a book about Lincoln’s first inauguration and the chaos surrounding that moment and the ensuing Civil War. It was a horrible time and emotions leading up to it were as bad or worse than we have seen recently. But our nation survived, and the greatest reason was that God had a man like Lincoln who loved the whole nation so much that beating the South was not his goal but uniting the North and the South his aim. Love as Christs loved, was his guiding principle. When asked about the kind of church he would join, Lincoln replied, “Whenever any church will inscribe over its altar, as its sole qualification for membership, the Savior’s condensed statement of the substance of the law and the Gospel, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,’ that church I will join with all my heart and all my soul.”
In a time when political passions, not to mention medical opinions, cause tremendous rifts in our nation, let us be the “Lincolns” of this time who pray and behave with love for all of America, no matter what race, political persuasion, or medical opinion. Let us be the example of Christ who was the example for Lincoln.