Saturday, August 01, 2009


I've been Virginia for the past week. My family makes an annual pilgrimage to the east coast to visit family. We are history family, always interested and investigating the history of the areas that we visit. This year we made it to Gettysburg. Wow, what a place and what a visitor center! They have truly done it up right. It is just over 146 years since the great battle took place. It seemed rather poetic that it rained most of the day we were there, a rain that is both gloomy and cleansing. It reminded me of my youth living in the mid-west. When the rains would come they would bring a melancholy, but they would also bring nourishment to the ground. The same seemed true at Gettysburg. We visited the 20th Maine monument on little round top. It was a meaningful place for me having seen the most recent Gettysburg movie. Orders were given to hold the line there at all costs. With great tenacity and ingenuity the line was held. Gettysburg became the turning point in the Civil War, even though it cost more than 6000 American lives, plus wounded.

It is important to me to visit these sacred places of our collective history and to pay honor to those who served and died there. In the place where Abraham Lincoln gave his Address there is a great monument. Surrounding the monument are the grave markers of many of those who died at Gettysburg. They are laid out in a half-round facing the place of the speech. I could almost hear Lincoln consoling a nation and the dead giving their attention.

Throughout the bible we are told to remember, both what God has done and what those who came before have done. Remembrance is an important thing - for we remember the good AND the bad of the past. It is not just the history of our nation that we need to remember, but also the our personal histories as well. All aspects of our history need to be addressed if we are truly to be healed. After all we do serve the God of the wound. Jesus is the God who took the pain of the world and transformed it instead of transmitting it. Jesus, naked and battered on the cross, is the one who said "Father forgive them for they know not what they do." The God of all creation does not throw the anger, fear, and hatred of the world back at the world, but instead transforms it by His love. Even more than that, he calls us to follow in his way. As we learn by following in His way we become able to transform the pain and brokeness of our own lives into love and compassion for all of God's creation.

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