Printing in color is expensive... but I wish all of the folks who receive this newsletter in the U.S. Mail could see this picture’s colors ! They are so gorgeous.
You may have heard Stephen Colbert joke (or heard me quote him): “Whenever God closes a door, He opens a window: His heating bills are outrageous !!”
Well, judging by this week’s outrageous displays of colors among the leafy trees and azure skies, God’s ink and paint bills are out of this world, too !!
Mosaic from the church of Apollonaire at Ravenna, Italy, from around AD 521-547
Our United States heritage trains us to think of “rulers” in a particular way:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
(United States Declaration of Independence, accessed at https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/declaration-transcript )
The train of thought that Thomas Jefferson and the Continental Congress followed two hundred and forty years ago is still chugging along down the tracks of history. The rights which they named have morphed and grown in ways which the Continental Congressmen could scarcely have imagined: “All men are created equal,” most of us now take to include women and people of color, not only White men. I, for one, am very thankful for progress, and for the spread of human rights.
Yet most people, around our world and through the ages, have lived and died without benefit of “human rights.” What they’ve had were rulers, some better and some worse. Some rulers treat their subjects well; others treat them like slaves.
Even though we inherit the American dream of freedom, our United States system leaves room for worse or better leaders. In each generation, under each set of elected officials, some folks enjoy their version of liberty while others feel oppressed.
Hear what God says about this, through the Prophet Jeremiah: (23:1-3)
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!” says the LORD.
Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, “Concerning the shepherds who shepherd My people: it is you who have scattered My flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the LORD.
Then I Myself will gather the remnant of My flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply.”
For the past two thousand years, under governments good and bad, we humans have one right which is truly unalienable— nobody can take it away: the right to Jesus Christ as our One True Ruler. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him God was pleased to reconcile to Himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
Colossians 1: 19-20