December 30, 2008
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10
Ministers generally don't get much applause for preaching a sermon twice.
Pastor George Docherty may be the exception to that rule. Docherty came to the United States as an immigrant from Scotland. As a new citizen, he learned the Pledge of Allegiance from his seven-year-old son: "One nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
Pastor Docherty thought something was missing. He thought there ought to be some kind of mention about the country's reliance upon God. Docherty felt so strongly about this in 1952 he preached a sermon saying exactly that.
Then, on February 7, 1954, Pastor Docherty was told President Eisenhower was going to be worshiping in his church. Docherty re-preached his 1952 sermon. Eisenhower got moving; Congress got moving, and the next Flag Day the president signed a new law adding the words "under God" to the U.S. pledge.
The reason I share this story is because last (U.S.) Thanksgiving Day, at the age of 97, Pastor Docherty died. Most sincerely I pray his idea of a country connected with God never passes away.
Yes, ours may not always be a Christian nation but, by God's grace, it can strive to be a nation where Christians point to the Savior with their lives, in their words, and by their conduct.
As we go into a new year, it is right for those of us who acknowledge God's grace to pledge our resolve to acknowledge our Lord who sent His Son to save us.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, although many may not recognize Your hand and handiwork in our lives, we acknowledge all we have and all we are is a gift from Your generous hand. In this year filled with unknowns, let me give thanks for that hand. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries