Given this weekend’s significance, it seems appropriate to share an old legend about old honest Abe.
It is said that during the war, he used to visit the hospitals in Washington, walking among the wounded and dying, trying to offer comfort where he could.
One day, a young soldier, on his very last legs, asked if he might help him to write a will and a letter to his mother. As pictures were not very common in those days, the older gentleman had obviously gone unrecognized. But he kindly replied that he had been a lawyer at some point in his career and would do his best. When he finished with both, he handed the letter over to the young man to sign and at the bottom it read, transcribed by Abraham Lincoln.
The soldier looked up and asked, “are you really the president?”
“May I ask one more favor of you?”
“Would you stay with me until I fall asleep?”
And in the dim light of candles and oil lamps, the president held the hand of that dying soldier until he went to his eternal rest.
President Lincoln is said to have attended New York Avenue Presbyterian Church during his time in office. And while I cannot know what precisely his preacher said in those days, I do know some of his source material.
This weekend’s passage is from one of Jesus’s most famous sermons during which he tells us that it is our job to go further. Not just to do what is right or good or acceptable – but to then go above and beyond. To do even more because that is what God has always and will always do for us.
So, for those of you still in town, come to worship and join us as we hear again Jesus’s own sermon on the plain.
Blessings, Pastor Janie