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Is God part of our lives?
As I attended Sunday church services this weekend, I looked at all the empty pews in our church, and in talking with members of other churches and have heard about their dwindling membership, all I can do is ask if we have put God out of our lives. Or, have we as a society found other ways to worship that does not include the traditional way by going to church.
I would like to entertain the notion that if we all returned to our upbringing and made a pact to attend church every week, our nation would be a better place to live and maybe, all the shootings, hate and other bad things would stop.
If you read about our American history, you will find that God is the center piece in all that history and He is asked many times for guidance in the creation of the United States and throughout its history.
Now, I am not any one who by any means has any right to preach to you about following God, so bear with me.
I would like to have you read the last paragraph of Lincoln’s second inaugural address delivered on March 4, 1865 as the Civil War was nearing its end.
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
Later that month, Lincoln visited with Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman in Virginia and the president reflected on his plan to treat the South with respect. “We want those people to return to their allegiance to the Union and submit to the laws.”
Less than three weeks later the Civil War was over. The war made many people very famous, like Lincoln, Grant, Sherman, and Robert E. Lee. But, the one person that is my hero of the Civil War is an educator from Maine by the name of Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.
Chamberlain entered the war as a Lt. Colonel from Maine and on July 2, 1863, during the Gettysburg battle, Chamberlain was posted on the extreme left of the Federal line on Little Round Top, just in time to face Confederate General John Hood’s 20,000 man army’s attack on the Union’s flank. Exhausted after repulsing repeated assaults, the 20th Maine, out of ammunition, formed a bayonet charge and saved the day for the Union Army.
Chamberlain was wounded six times, during the war, most grievously at Petersburg in June of 1864. Congress believed that the wound was mortal, and promoted Chamberlain to the rank of Brigadier General. Chamberlain would survive the wound and return to the front in time to play a pivotal role in the Appomattox Campaign.
On April 12, 1865, as the Union accepted the Confederate surrender and General Chamberlain oversaw the parade of Confederate troops stacking their muskets. As the Army of Northern Virginia began the procession, Chamberlain ordered his men to raise their weapons to their shoulders as a salute to honor to their fellow Americans. Confederate Major General John Gordon returned the gesture by saluting with his sword.
Chamberlain described his feelings at witnessing the ceremony: “How could we help falling on our knees, all of us together, and praying God to pity and forgive us all.”
Chamberlain would suffer the rest of his life from the wounds that he received at Petersburg and die from complications of those wounds fifty years later. The last man to die of wounds received during the Civil War.
With this I am asking you to attend church on Sunday, but do as I ask, as I will be in Milwaukee to attend the Brewers baseball game Saturday evening.
(Information for this piece came from the American Battlefield trust.)
Thanks for reading! ~Carlton