Jesu, Our Hope in Division


“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.” – Abraham Lincoln

I stood reading these words, etched broadly and boldly into the massive walls of marble beside the stately figure of Lincoln in his memorial in Washington D.C. His figure is imposing; sober, yet tender, confident and unrelenting, at peace with his decisions. Whatever the spectrum of motives he had during the course of the Civil War, it is clear that He was a man chosen to lead our nation during an hour when division was imminent and bitter. As I read his second inaugural address, I was struck by the familiarity of the moment we find ourselves in now as a nation, tensions rising, division growing, offense looking for an opportunity to express itself. I began to pray, “Lord, have mercy. What do we do? Lord help us.”

Even as I prayed, I turned to hear a faint, but beautiful sound rising. Two young men had stepped into the memorial, violin bows brandished, and sweetly, their song rose throughout the whole temple declaring the beauty of Jesus as they played “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” I began to weep as the sweet presence of the Lord filled the air, pervasive as a pleasant perfume. In the midst of my sober moment, it was as though the Lord stepped in and said, “I am the answer. I am turning the hearts of men to rejoice in Me as their desire.” This joyful, peaceful song soothed my heart, and hope arose.

Sure enough, these young men were part of the event I was attending, Awaken the Dawn. This weekend, the Washington Mall played host to 50+ tents representing every state in the Union, as followers of Jesus came to worship Him day and night for three days. I was moved to tears as I began to hope for the day when Jesus’ name would be boldly lifted up in every exalted place of government as the only worthy one of worship.

I believe that when we are united by a common devotion to Jesus and His just and righteous Lordship, that our hearts will turn towards one another and seek each other’s good; as we release our lives to His Lordship, and desire His will instead of our own, true justice will manifest as we see with His perspective, and walk without offense as one family, one body with many races, cultures, and tongues. Though much can be attained by an appeal to society, the transformation of the heart is the realm of the Lord, and the ministry of reconciliation is His alone. Let us draw near to Him, as the joy of our desire, that He may transform our nation and bring His peace.


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