Three events in today’s news from around the world remind me of what you and I need most in the troubled times in which we live. It’s the subject of today’s show where I talk about a relationship thread that connects all three of these stories:
- The horrific murder of 19 fourth graders in Uvalde, Texas
- Celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee in England
- Anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France 78 years ago
Keep listening because you’ll hear where to find what you and I need most in today’s world. What’s true here in June 2022 as I record this will be true in 2052 and every year following. It’s part of the human condition.
The Uvalde, Texas shooting
I’ll start with an article Peggy Noonan wrote in the Wall Street Journal shortly after the shooting in Uvalde, Texas. It’s a blistering piece of fire-breathing anger at the police on the scene who stood around for 45 minutes outside the school while the killer inside gunned down children in their classroom. The failure of the police to storm the building to take out the murderer is contemptible, says Noonan. Young children were calling 911 from their cell phones while the police did nothing. They called for help but none came.
One of the things I appreciate about Peggy Noonan is her ability to look at events in their larger context and to find meaning in them that goes beyond the immediate. She ends her article with the following:
“I close with a thought tugging around in my brain. I think I am seeing a broad and general decline in professionalism in America, a deterioration of our pride in concepts like rigor and excellence. Jan. 6 comes and law enforcement agencies are weak and unprepared and the U.S. Capital falls to a small army of mooks [stupid or incompetent person]. Afghanistan and the departure that was really a collapse, all traceable to the incompetence of diplomatic and military leadership. It’s like everyone’s forgotten the mission.
“I’m not saying, ‘Oh, America was once so wonderful and now it’s not.’ I’m saying we are losing old habits of discipline and pride in expertise – of peerlessness. There was a kind of American gleam. If the world called on us – in business, the arts, the military, diplomacy, science – they knew they were going to get help. The grown-ups had arrived with their deep competence.
The larger meaning found in the Texas tragedy
“America now feels more like the people who took the Expedited Three Month Training Course and got the security badge and went to work and formed an affinity group to advocate for change. A people who love to talk, endlessly, about sensitivity, yet aren’t sensitive enough to save children bleeding out on the other side of the door.
“I fear that as people we’re becoming not only increasingly unimpressive but increasingly unlovable.
“My God, I’ve never seen a country so in need of a hero.”
– Peggy Noonan, June 4, 2022, Wall Street Journal, page A15
Let that last line sink in for a minute, My God, I’ve never seen a country so in need of a hero. It’s Noonan’s take on what you and I need most right now. I’m going to come back to this in a little bit.
The second event – Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee
In contrast to the implications of the murders in Texas, we had the Platinum Jubilee celebration in England for Queen Elizabeth II. It was to honor her for the 70 years she’s been the queen, and for becoming the longest-ruling monarch in British – and European – history.
Is there anyone who doesn’t like Queen Elizabeth? I saw a few TV clips of the Jubilee event and all the commentators talked about the hundreds of thousands of Brits who turned out for this 4-day celebration to cheer on the queen. In watching this, I couldn’t help but think of Peggy Noonan’s quote about America, “I’ve never seen a country so in need of a hero.”
Could it be that Queen Elizabeth is the hero England needs? She doesn’t have any political power. She can't set polices for the country. Yet she he is so dearly loved .
Why? My sense is that she is stability personified in the otherwise unstable world we live in. She is a continuation of the monarchy that’s been part of British history for over a thousand years.
The Queen's appeal
Her appeal is even more winsome when you consider the dysfunction of the Royal Family. There’s Prince Charles and his messy divorce with the oh-so-popular Princess Diana and his related affair with Camila. There’s the scandal with the queen’s other son, Prince Andrew. And of course, the current mess with Harry and Megan throwing the Royal Family under the bus. Yet Queen Elizabeth stays out of the public fray of it all. You’ve got to admire a queen like this. The family she presides over isn’t all that different than some of our own families.
Is someone like Queen Elizabeth what you and I need most right now? Before I answer, there’s one more worldwide event to consider. One that connects with the Peggy Noonan article about the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee.
78th Anniversary of D-Day
This month, here in 2022, marks the 78th anniversary of D-Day, the invasion of Normandy, which marked the beginning of the end of World War II. This year’s anniversary had a different twist to it that I had not seen or heard of before.
Several years ago, in rare bi-partisan support, Congress approved an addition to the WWII memorial in Washington, D.C. Construction will begin next month, in July 2022, on the D-Day Prayer Project.
On June 6, 1944, at At 9:57 pm, President Franklin Roosevelt addressed the nation on radio, announcing the D-Day invasion that began earlier that day. He encouraged everyone to join him in prayer about the invasion. It will be added to the WWII memorial.
It’s not too long, so I will read it to you. It was what the world needed most on June 6, 1944. And it is certainly what you and I need most now. As I read the prayer, look past the specifics of that war-time need, and instead think about the appeal to a person outside of ourselves to meet our needs when things are looking terrible. That’s the point. Here’s the prayer:
My fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far. And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith. They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.
Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
Pray for ourselves
And for us at home – fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas – whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them – help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.
Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.
Give us strength, too – strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.
And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.
Give us faith
And, O Lord, give us Faith. Give us Faith in Thee; faith in our sons; faith in each other; and faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.
With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister Nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
Thy will be done, Almighty God.
What you and I need Most
Let’s return now to the three events I mentioned in the beginning and consider the theme they all touch on.
- The elementary school killing of 19 young children in Uvalde, Texas
- Queen Elizabeth and her Platinum Jubilee celebration in England
- Anniversary of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France
The thread that ties these events together is the need for someone or something outside of ourselves to get us out of a mess, to give us a sense of stability that things are going to be okay, no matter what. Like the trapped 4th graders in that Uvalde Texas classroom, we all need someone to rescue us. In our case, to rescue us from ourselves.
We need stability in our lives. We need someone like Queen Elizabeth who has been giving 70 years of her life to serving her subjects, with no intention of stopping. Someone so deeply committed to us. Someone beyond ourselves.
We need God like the allied forces needed on D-Day. Like FDR who called upon us to pray to defeat that which seeks to destroy us.
So what does all this mean for YOU?
It is easier to understand how we need to be saved from forces outside of ourselves like evil people. It’s harder to understand how at times we need to be saved from ourselves. What we need most, in either case, is Jesus.
In the Gospel of John, chapter 6, some of the disciples of Jesus begin to desert him. It prompts Jesus to say to his 12 apostles, “Are you going to leave, too?” Peter replies and says in effect, Where else would we go? You are the only one who gives life.”
Here’s the main takeaway I hope you remember from today’s episode
We all need to be rescued from something. Often it’s to be rescued from ourselves. So the rescue must come from someone outside of us. Thankfully, what we need most is right in front of us. Just look and you’ll find Jesus there. Ready to rescue.
As always, I’d love to hear any thoughts you have about today’s episode.
In closing, I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, enough to call upon him to calm your heart in light of the troubled times in which we live. To ask him to save you from your fears, idiosyncrasies, and dysfunctions whatever they may be. And to replace them with the peace only he can provide.
For when you do, it will help you experience the joy of your relationship with God. Because after all, You Were Made for This.
Well, that’s it for today. Please tell others about this podcast if you think it would be interesting and helpful to them. And don’t forget to spread a little relational sunshine around the people you meet this week. Spark some joy for them. And I’ll see you again next time.
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