The word of God is not chained. Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, together with eternal importance. This saying is trustworthy: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him; if we persevere, we shall also reign with him.
Édouard René de Laboulaye the president of the French Anti-Slavery Society first proposed the Statue of Liberty. The project is traced to a conversation between Édouard René de Laboulaye, and Frédéric Bartholdi, a sculptor in mid-1865. The Civil War ended this year. The word of God is not chained.
Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord; He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored; He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword: His truth is marching on.
I have seen Him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps, They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps; I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps: His day is marching on.
Whose day? The Lord’s Day. What is his righteous sentence? “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
In our reading for Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time we read, “He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Being born in this nation means nothing in God’s eye. What matters is that we hear his righteous sentence. We are all equal, regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, or sex. We are all created equal. We are also a nation of immigrants. We read in our Fourth Commandment, “Remember that you too were once slaves in the land of Egypt/Oppression/Europe/Ireland/the sweatshops of the northern factories, the plantations of the south, and the LORD, your God, brought you out from there with a strong hand and outstretched arm. That is why the LORD, your God, has commanded you to observe Sabbath.”
Remember you were once oppressed. We all have endured oppression in our lives, all of us. In the Eucharist we did with Christ. We die liturgically in the anamnesis, we rise in the partaking of the host. The words of the Battle Hymn sing in us:
I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel: “As ye deal with my condemner’s, so with you my grace shall deal”; Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel, Since God is marching on.
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat; He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat; Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet! Our God is marching on.
God does sift our hearts. We stand for the oppressed, those trying to cross some silly wall to find sufficient food, clothing, and shelter for their young, for the minority in the Deep South who does not have a birth certificate because he was born of mid-wives who did not know to get one, and for those who suffer. If we do not, if we are not swift to answer Him, well, we are sifted out.
In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me. As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, While God is marching on.
Does the glory in his bosom transfigure us, make us into God’s image. If it does, we fight to make men free, in Aleppo Syria, in Mexico City, in Ferguson Missouri, in Florida, in the dozens of cities where minorities are killed because they have too much melanin in their skin, or the speak funny, or they look funny, or they do not think like us, or are we sifted. That is the question today.