What many that live on the east and west coasts of the United States call fly over country, is also referred to as the heartland. Sandy and I returned to the heartland this past week to attend a nephew’s high school graduation ceremony. Having been away from the heartland for the past 21 years we were reminded once again of the enduring values that are found there.
It is vital that you understand that the graduation we attended was a public school graduation. The first order of business of this graduation ceremony was a prayer of thanksgiving that was offered up in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Following the invocation, the national anthem was sung as we had not heard it sung in many years. Everyone stood, hats came off, and hands were placed over hearts out of respect and in thanksgiving for the freedoms that we enjoy in this great land of ours. The last order of business for the evening was a benediction, also offered up to God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Much to my surprise and delight, no one jumped up in protest or walked out complaining that their rights had been violated because the name of Jesus had been spoken in this public setting. Believe me when I say that I was looking around trying to discern an ACLU presence at the event. Apparently they had not gotten wind of this travesty, this lack of respect for separation of church and state.
To top off the evening, in his valedictory address, one young man spoke of success not being measured by how much money one makes or how much fame they accumulate to themselves during a lifetime, but that true success is living for the glory of the One who created them. He went on to say that he would first and foremost live for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. He noted that this choice may bring blessing or persecution; but whatever it brought, it was for Christ that he was going to live.
My friends, that’s the way it used to be all across our great land. I well remember the time that I was in school, a public school, when the first order of the day was a reading of one chapter of scripture and a prayer, offered up by our teacher. We then moved on to our other subjects.
Ejecting God from the public arena has cost our nation much. When kicked out of the public square, God went quietly. But like ancient Israel and Judah, forgetting God has great consequences. I pray God’s blessing on that high school in Idaho that has let Him remain and is not afraid to invoke the name of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.