Today’s Bible readings can be found at this link: Psalm 45:1-9 and Matthew 1:1-17.
Psalm 45:1 My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer. (NIV)
I’m currently reading a biography of John Quincy Adams – my favorite US President. The book is called ‘Memoir of the Life of John Quincy Adams,’ which was written by one of his relatives, Josiah Quincy. The book contains many sections of the speeches and writings of JQA, especially the ones he wrote and gave after he left the Presidency. In my opinion, he was the most intelligent President we have ever had and much of his writing reflects the breadth of his international experiences, as well as his love of classical books.
JQA was a fierce opponent of slavery and a strong advocate for the liberty of all people, especially where their rights to petition or protest had been suppressed or ignored. When he gave a speech in Congress, his words were often jeered by his opponents, but JQA’s perseverance and great command of language enabled him to strongly express what needed to be changed about how the American people were governed. He fought continuously against the notorious Gag Rule of 1835 which unjustly, as well as unconstitutionally, tabled and silenced any petitions against slavery in the House of Representatives. This disreputable procedure was introduced by Andrew Polk from Tennessee and practiced for nine inglorious years during which JQA constantly railed against it in Congress, at public gatherings, and in the newspapers. Eventually, both his tongue and pen overcame the fierce opposition, leading the way toward ending slavery in the US.
In this post-modern age of superficial sound bites, snap chat, and jingoism, we need solid speeches, effective writing, and committed leaders to keep us on a path which will advance life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for everyone. JQA fully understood why universal equality was so important because he saw it as an inalienable right given to us by God. As he once wrote, ‘Quench not the spirit of freedom. Let it go forth, not in the panoply of fleshly wisdom, but with the promise of peace, and the voice of persuasion, clad in the whole armor of truth, conquering and to conquer.’
As people of faith, we have an opportunity to make our congregations, communities, and countries much better places by promoting Christ’s teaching and truth, rejecting what is false and unjust, and writing about or expressing our beliefs in ways that are kind, loving, and full of hope. If we are willing to do these things, then our tongues and pens will no longer be weapons of division and disunity, but will effectively become channels of God’s mercy and instruments of peace.
Point to ponder: What things can I write, say, or do which will promote peace and advance God’s love among my family and friends?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to cherish Your ways and communicate Your love to everyone we encounter today. Keep us from causing division and enable us to promote Your peace. In your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.
Today’s image is one of John’s Psalm drawings based on today’s Bible verse. If you would like to view a larger version, pleas click here.