I’ll bet that you already know what this post is about. What’s more, I’ll bet you know the next phrase that follows the title of evening’s post – yep, “our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in Liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…” With these words, President Abraham Lincoln started the famous Gettysburg Address, which was delivered 150 years ago today, dedicating the hallowed grounds of the battlefield in commemoration of the soldiers who died at Gettysburg.
Ironically, Lincoln was not the main speaker that day. His remarks, two minutes at best, followed the main speech given by Edward Everett, who spoke a little more than two hours! Lincoln had a raging headache and people who had seen the speech in person indicated that he looked haggard, drawn and tired. It was later revealed that the President had contracted a mild case of smallpox and it is thought that he was in the initial stages of this illness while he was in Gettysburg. One of the only known photos of Lincoln was also taken during the dedication ceremony and among other little known facts, there were at least five original copies of the text, all with slight variations, that were made by the President for distribution to his personal secretaries and other dignitaries. Several of the copies were made later for what appeared to be fundraising activities well after the date of the Address.
Of course, the four score and seven years that Lincoln was referring to was the length of time since the penning of the Declaration of Independence written by Thomas Jefferson proclaiming our freedom from Britain in 1776. And that document professed that all men were endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Now, years later, Lincoln was trying to link the Declaration to the dedication of the battlefield cemetery that now became the final resting place for so many American soldiers.
What is so interesting about the Address is that Lincoln reiterated that the country was founded on the premise that all men were created equal – and yet slavery was still rampant in the South. It can be argued that Lincoln’s strong stance on this topic led to his eventual assassination. Lincoln was trying to promote the idea of “e pluribus unum” – or in the English, “out of many, one…” He was trying to re-unite the country.
God wishes for us to do the same thing – we each have an equal opportunity to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. We are told that anyone who answers the call can accept the free gift of eternal life. And out of many, God wants us to be “one” – each of us created equal in His eyes and each of us important in his sight. And we know that there is one God – manifest in the Trinity, the Godhead of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The verse for tonight confirms the belief that each of us is created equal in His sight. We are told, in Rev. 3:20-21, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.” Did you catch the intent here? Jesus says that anyone can answer the call and eat with him. That means each of us and all of us. There is no limit to the number of people who can accept the invitation.
My encouragement this evening is that God is waiting for you to answer the call – and if you have already done that, He is waiting for you to encourage others to enter the kingdom as well. My prayer is that you will work on the principle of “e pluribus unum” – out of many, one, all believing in the Father and His Son… Have a a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…