July 4th and Laus Deo
FROM THE BISHOP
R. LAWSON BRYAN
You may know that the Washington Monument commemorates the Commander of the Continental Army and first president of the United States, George Washington. And you may have stood beside the 55-foot wide base and lifted your eyes 555 feet to the top of the monument. But do you know what is inscribed on the very top? It is the Latin phrase, “Laus Deo,” which means “Praise be to God.”
That’s not all. A Bible was among the items placed in the cornerstone when it was laid on July 4, 1848. Many Bible verses are carved on memorial blocks in the walls of the Washington Monument. Here are a few of them:
- “Holiness to the Lord” (Isaiah 23:18, Zechariah 14:20)
- “Search the Scriptures” (John 5:39)
- “The memory of the just is blessed (Proverbs 10:7)
- “Suffer the little children to come unto me…for of such is the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:16)
Reflecting upon the deeply held convictions of the founders of this nation, please note that people of faith have a vital role to play today. Our South Georgia theme is “Alive Together in Witness,” and the witness of United Methodists is needed today in every area of our national life. This is the right theme for such as time as this.
I am awed by Washington’s prayer for America. Have you never read it? Well now is your opportunity … read on!
“Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large. And finally, that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”