Tag Archives: Benjamin Rush

Sometimes Dreams Do Come True

Story of the Day for Monday February 20, 2012

Sometimes Dreams Do Come True

                     “Blessed are the peacemakers, because they will be called sons of God.”

                                                                 Matthew 5:9

Are you dismayed by the hostile political climate in our day? Don’t you wish we could return to the spirit of our Founding Fathers and cooperate in mutual trust?

We picture the Founding Fathers gathered in the convention hall in Philadelphia – patiently waiting their turn to stand in the midst of the assembly and stretch out their arm in a noble pose and say something famous, like, “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Then everyone would repair to the nearest tavern for a tankard of ale and a plate of apple pan dowdy, and spend an agreeable afternoon deciding who got to speak the next famous saying on the morrow.

 

Unfortunately, it was never like that. The Founding Fathers were certainly courageous; they knew their decisions placed their lives in jeopardy. And they were unbelievably intelligent, because back then, they elected you to office on the basis of ability, not your good looks.

But, despite their common vision of a nation governed by the consent of the people, as men of great passion, they squabbled and fought like alley cats. Two of them, Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, grew so incensed with each other that they fought a duel to the death.

But the bitterest feud was between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Though the two had been friends for many years, their differing political viewpoints boiled over in mutual accusations. After exchanging pungent letters, they refused to communicate with each other for years.

 

Benjamin Rush was a mutual friend of Adams and Jefferson, a fellow signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a devout Christian.

Rush sought to reconcile the two. He wrote to Adams about a dream he had. He dreamed that Adams had written a kind letter to Jefferson, and that Jefferson returned an equally gracious letter. In his dream, the two men reconciled their differences and renewed their friendship. Then both of them “sunk into the grave nearly at the same time, full of years . . .”

 

Adams did write a conciliatory letter to Jefferson. Benjamin Rush immediately wrote to Adams, “I rejoice in the correspondence which has taken place between you and your old friend, Mr. Jefferson.” Jefferson wrote a gracious letter back. Rush wrote to Jefferson to rejoice in “this reunion of two souls destined to be dear to each other . . .”

Through a peacemaker, these two giants of our nation’s founding were reconciled.

In the 50th year of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, full of years, died. Hours later on the same day, John Adams passed away . . . on the 4th of July.

Sometimes dreams do come true.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

More or Less Securely Fastened

Story of the Day for Friday January 6, 2012

More or Less Securely Fastened

         In Joppa, a disciple by the name of Tabitha . . .  was always doing good deeds and acts of mercy for the needy.

                                                   Acts 9:36

 In the fourth century, John Chrysostom, a pastor in Antioch wrote, “Every day the church feeds 3000 people. Besides this, the church daily helps provide food and clothes for prisoners, the hospitalized, pilgrims, cripples . . .”

At the same time, in Rome, Jerome mentions a Christian woman, Fabiola. “She was the first person to found a hospital, into which she might gather sufferers out of the streets, and where she might nurse the unfortunate victims of sickness and want.”

All this distressed the Roman Emperor, Julian, who wanted to destroy the Christian faith. He, futilely, urged the pagan priests to try to copy the compassion of the Christians. “It is disgraceful,” he moaned, that Christians “support our poor in addition to their own.”

Julian accused Christians of showing excessive compassion, and we’ve been guilty ever since.

 

Benjamin Rush, in addition to founding our country’s first Bible society, was also the leader in showing compassionate care to the mentally ill. The official emblem of the American Psychiatric Association features his portrait in the center.

After seeing the carnage of the Battle of Solferino, with little attention paid to the wounded, Henry Dunant, a devout Christian, inspired the founding of both the International Red Cross and the creation of the Geneva Convention.

A British nurse, Cicely Saunders was appalled by the lack of care given in the hospital for the dying. She founded Hospice to provide compassionate care to the terminally ill.

Habitat for Humanity, Prison Fellowship – we find that Christians are continually finding ways to help the poor and needy.

 

Some (well-meaning) Christians believe the sole purpose of the Church is to preach the Gospel and save souls. But, if this is true, what do we make of Jesus? Yes, he came to open the path to heaven. Yet, on his way to cross, his feet kept following his heart – which invariably led him to the tear-stained faces of the poor, the sick, and the outcasts.

Amy Carmichael went to India as a missionary, and spent much of her time working to free children from temple prostitution. She was criticized by fellow-Christians for not focusing solely on saving souls.

Amy responded, “One cannot save and then pitchfork souls into heaven . . . Souls are more or less securely fastened to bodies . . . and as you cannot get the souls out and deal with them separately, you have to take them both together.”

 

Since we can’t pry a person’s soul away from their body without killing the patient in the process, we might as well love the whole darn thing.

                                                      (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)