Originally known as a top Minnesota Vikings football player, Page recently retired as a Minnesota Supreme Court justice. With his wife Diane, he founded the Page Education Foundation, assisting Minnesota students of color with post-secondary education. When Page finished his narration and the Minnesota Orchestra played their last crashing notes, the crowd of white senior citizens who attend morning coffee concerts in the Twin Cities stood to our feet and cheered. It all felt so fitting for this week in this America.
Copeland received the commission to write the Lincoln Portrait 11 days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. It premiered the following year. That spring of 1942 was a scary time in American history. America faced choices about what kind of nation we would be, much like the America of Lincoln’s time to which the piece alludes.
Much like we do this week.
Choices made in Lincoln’s day tore the nation apart. From 600,000 to 750,000 soldiers died, plus incredible devastation to civilian life. Yet choices made in the years that followed attempted to undo the freedom so dearly bought for our nation’s oppressed. Some of the choices made in Copeland’s day, like the internment of up to 120,000 men, women and children (most of them American citizens) for nothing more than their ethnic heritage, defied the values of the Declaration of Independence, much less the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We face terrible choices today. What kind of America do we want to live in? What kind of legacy will we leave for our children? The choice is not simple. Sincere believers will choose differently, but we must ask ourselves, is our faith in God, or in a political party? What guides our choices—fear or faith? Do we value an illusive “safety” more than we value justice? What is the price of conscience?
"Fellow citizens,” Copeland quotes Lincoln as saying in his 1862 message to Congress, “we cannot escape history...No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation. We, even we here, hold the power and bear the responsibility."
Please fulfill your responsibility on Tuesday.
[I recommend the entire beautiful piece, but if you want to skip to the narration, it begins at 7:10.]
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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