[I submitted this to WND.com as my column for Thanksgiving week. Some mishap prevented its publication, so I share it here.]
Has the LORD as great delight in burnt’ offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold “to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22)
“O come, let us sing unto the Lord” (ver. 1). He calleth us to a great banquet of joy, not one of this world, but in the Lord. For if there were not in this life a wicked joy which is to be distinguished from a righteous joy, it would be enough to say, “Come, let us rejoice;” but he has briefly distinguished it. What is it to rejoice aright? To rejoice in the Lord. Thou shouldest piously joy in the
Lord,if thou dost wish safely to trample upon the world. But what is the word, “Come”?Whence doth He call them to come, with whom he wisheth to rejoice in the Lord; except that, while they are afar, they may by coming drawnearer, by drawing nearer they may approach, and by approaching rejoice? But whence are they afar? Can a man be locally distant from Him who is everywhere?… It is not byplace, but by being unlike Him, that a man is afar from God (St. Augustine of Hippo, Exposition on the Book of Psalms, Psalm 95 §2)
This Thanksgiving Day, I gave thanks to God (as I always do) that I was born a citizen of the United States. So, even though some of my ancestors were slaves, I am now, like the ancient Israelites, no longer in captivity. More wonderful than this, unlike most human beings throughout the ages, I participate in responsibility for the work of kings. In elections like the one just past, I bring my “widow’s mite” to bear on choices and decisions that signify my share of the sovereign duty that belongs, as a whole, to the people of the United States.
Therefore I have shewn them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth as the light. For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:5-8)
Thanks to our nation’s founding creed, we are a nation of nations. We seek to realize and exemplify the better destiny of humankind. In pursuit of that destiny, multitudes have gathered from all the regions of the earth. Our creed invites them to preserve their self-respecting distinctiveness as facets of God’s design, so long as they respect the information of God’srule that allows our to weave into the fabric of our nation that common thread of rightful knowledge, conscience. Reflecting God’s goodwill toward all humanity, our creed reminds us of the righteous prompts of our God-endowed humanity. As and when we remember them, they invite us to be one nation. They impel us dutifully to unite in righteous impulses, pursuant to the “laws of nature and of nature’s God” which are, as it were, the directing algorithms of our Creator.
I give thanks for my share in the deliberations that contribute to our performance of our duty. But in our times, as if to prove the observation that the crown of sovereign power does not wear easily, the fulfillment of our duty as citizens
Though they are still masquerading as Americans, they more and more openly conspire to overthrow the institutions that apportion sovereignty among the citizens of the UnitedStates. They collaborate with the enemies of our liberty to degrade the security of our borders. The integrity of the franchise ought to signify our shared and mutual profession to do right by the common good of our nation, according to the standard of God, whose law and goodwill endow it. But these marauding anti-Americans work ruthlessly to corrupt both that franchise and the profession of right it ought to signify.
They are themselves thoroughly corrupted by power-mad ideologies or personal ambition. So they deploy all the material inducements money, fear and the perverted natural power of sensual imagination endow, to advance their strategy to divide and conquer the body politic of theUnited States. Weaponizing these not altogether human aspects of our nature, they corrupt our common sense and decent aspirations as individuals. Exploiting the diversity of our respective origins, experiences, and predilections, these would-be tyrants invite us to identify ourselves in rabid opposition to one another. They put up a pretense of compassion for common humanity. But, in effect, they transmogrify compassion into resentment and anger—passions intended to obscure, disintegrate, and then utterly destroy the community, committed to human justice and the exercise of
Thus, they seek to erase the God-endowed distinctions that call for us to reunite in our Creator’s will (like God’s distinction of male and female, or Christ’s distinction between the prayers of the lowly Publican and those of the prideful Pharisee). In their stead, they celebrate, foment and seek by law to impose,
So, this Thanksgiving, all Americans face a threat to the God-endowed rights, including liberty, which our nation exists to exercise and uphold on behalf of the whole human race. Given this dire circumstance, I take comfort in the fact that beyond my liberty as a citizen of the United States, I stand fast in the greater liberty wherewith Christ is willing to make people from all nations free if only they have the goodwill. “Whence cometh my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” What Christian fails to understand that this is also the only hope for a nation found upon the premise that all people are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.”
As a nation, therefore, we will only fall prey to divisive ideologies and perverse delusions because we have forgotten God, and so also ourselves. Let us give thanks that we cannot “be locally distant from Him who is everywhere.” We have but to remember God— not just in wordy prayers, but in prayerful words enacted in obedience to His goodwill—andthe hearth fire of our nation will be rekindled in the heart’s fire alight in every American who believes and trusts in Him.
Though, like the burning bush that Moses saw, our flesh is not consumed: Yet God’s Holy Spirit set us afire within. We burn with longing to make our righteous obedient to His Word, the which, with Christ, we take to heart. Today our Thanksgiving Prayer only begins. It must henceforward continue every day. As in times of Old when Kings went forth, and times of trial when Americans did the same—we are called to do battle for right and rights. And for the favor ofGod. For by His Providence we were made to be a nation, whose reflection remembers His sovereignty. If we truly remember Him in action, we may yet recall humanity to the path His good will first