Today in the United States of America is “Presidents’ Day” – the recognition of the 1st president and the 16th president of the United States.
Although George Washington had a grade school level formal education, he was a military general, political leader, a statesman and “Founding Father” who served as the first U.S. president from 1789 to 1797. He commanded the Continental Army during the American Revolution (1775-1783) and presided over the convention that drafted the U.S. Constitution. (www.britannica.com) President Washington strongly believed in fighting against oppression and tyranny, and he led the charge to overcome it toward greater human liberty.
Abraham Lincoln, who was mostly self-educated, was a self-taught lawyer, legislator and remarkable statesman. He served as the 16th president from 1861 to 1865, until he was assassinated. He was the steadfast leader in preserving the Union during the U.S. Civil War, and he began the formal process to end slavery in the United States by issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. (www.history.com) Among Lincoln’s many great sayings is: “Determine that the thing can and shall be done and then we shall find the way.”
Each man had vision to improve the circumstances set before them by serving their country to their highest sense of right. These great yet humble men rose to the opportunity presented to them and stood steadfastly, respectively, in selfless service to our beloved country for the greater good of all.
In my reading, especially of “Abraham Lincoln’s Daily Devotional,” I’ve found that clearly President Lincoln was “a man of God” who prayed daily and often. I believe he must have understood the depth of meaning in this scriptural saying: “Where there is no vision the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18) For he recognized the evil of slavery and knew the United States ultimately couldn’t survive without abolishing this evil. I believe Lincoln obeyed and followed his highest sense of right based greatly on his devotion to God and Scripture.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science Church, also loved the Holy Bible and prayed daily and often for those in our country and the world. When women in the U.S. had very little rights and freedom, her vision and perseverance led her to accomplish more than imaginable in her lifetime. This was partly due to the slowly growing wave of freedom and progress after 1865. She clearly admired President Lincoln and his vision. And, Mrs. Eddy listened to and followed God as best as possible in unwavering obedience to His commands and guidance. She too desired to abolish slavery in all its forms, and wrote almost 150 years ago:
“Truth brings the elements of liberty. On its banner is the Soul-inspired motto, ‘Slavery is abolished.’ The power of God brings deliverance to the captive. No power can withstand divine Love… Whatever enslaves man is opposed to the divine government. Truth makes man free… Love is the liberator. Legally to abolish unpaid servitude in the United States was hard; but the abolition of mental slavery is a more difficult task… Men and women of all climes and races are still in bondage to material sense, ignorant how to obtain their freedom… God has built a higher platform of human rights, and He has built it on diviner claims. These claims are not made through code or creed, but in demonstration of ‘on earth peace, good-will toward men.’”
Later she continues, “Discerning the rights of man, we cannot fail to foresee the doom of all oppression. Slavery is not the legitimate state of man. God made man free… All men should be free. ‘Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.’ … Christian Science raises the standard of liberty and cries: ‘Follow me! Escape from the bondage of sickness, sin, and death!’ Jesus marked out the way. Citizens of the world, accept the ‘glorious liberty of the children of God,’ and be free! This is your divine right.” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pages 224-227)
So, it is upon this basis that we at Wide Horizon practice Christian Science nursing, striving to witness freedom from the bondage of sin, sickness and even the worldwide belief in death – by knowing that life is eternal, true reality is spiritual, and Spirit, Love, does heal. This reality – this freedom and liberty – is available for all mankind!
D. Brian Boettiger