George Washington’s birthday was February 22 and was celebrated on the Senate floor by reading his Farewell Address. He only said three things were absolutely necessary for our country to endure.
One of those three is not very popular today, but no less true. “Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports.” It would be folly to suppose that morality can be maintained without religion, he said. “[R]eason and experience,” he wrote, “both forbid to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”
President Washington was a leader in his local church as well as on the national stage. This great patriot was a strong man of faith who knew success was won by more than human skill, intelligence, and luck. Whether he was a Deist (God created the world then left it to run on its own without intervention) or not is irrelevant to what he believed indispensable for the good of the new United States.
Lent begins this Wednesday Lent and concludes Easter morning after spreading over forty mornings and evenings days (excluding the six Sundays encountered because each of these is a “mini-Easter”).
Lent means many things, not the least of which is to remind everyone of their mortality and weaknesses that draws their attention away from God. George Washington’s farewell address to the nation came from its first military commander and civilian president, which, in part, sought to remind them of the same thing. Do not turn away from God. Depend on Him. Follow Him.
Many churches this Wednesday will offer those who gather to worship the opportunity to have ashes placed on their forehead or hand in the form of a cross. The ashes come from the previous year’s palm branches to dramatically symbolize how quickly victory fades and human popularity withers.
Caryn Rivadeneria writes “Ashes are a symbol of our repentance, of our desire to turn back to God; ashes demonstrate our solidarity of with Jesus, and with his journey to the cross and through the grave; and the sign of the cross in ashes is Christ’s own signature on us, that we belong to him.”
It may not be popular or even politically correct to state one’s personal need for God through faith in Christ. It may be even less popular to proclaim the absolute necessity for this great country to do the same if it is to endure much less flourish as it has in past years. It is, however, the right thing and the truthful thing to do. George Washington could not tell a lie. We should not listen to lies either.