February 16, 2020

Lincoln’s Second Inaugural

Lincoln’s Second Inaugural

“Lincoln’s Second Inaugural: The Purposes of the Almighty are God’s Own”
Sermon based on Jeremiah 23:16-18, 21-22, 31-32; Isaiah 55:6-9
Rev. Paul E. Capetz Christ Church by the Sea (United Methodist),
Newport Beach February 16, 2020 (for Presidents Day)

Tomorrow is Presidents Day. When I was growing up, we used to have two holidays in February, one celebrating George Washington’s birthday and another one celebrating Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, but for some reason we now have only a single holiday in recognition of all the men who have ever served as president of the United States. Since our nation is currently so polarized by political divisions, let us take the occasion of this holiday to reflect on what we as Christians should expect from our political leaders in a democracy.

The first thing I ever learned about our first president George Washington was that he never told a lie. In my first-grade class at elementary school our teacher told us the story of how as a boy Washington had chopped down his father’s cherry tree with a hatchet. When his father discovered that the tree was gone and asked his son about it, little George did not try to avoid the consequences of his actions by lying, but told his father the truth, saying, “Father, I cannot tell a lie.” I suppose we were taught this lesson about our first president so that we little boys and girls would always strive to be like George Washington and never tell lies ourselves. But I wonder if we were also taught this lesson so that we would trust our presidents never to lie to us.

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