On March 4, 1933, the newly elected president of the United States
On March 4, 1933, the newly elected president of the United States delivered his inaugural address to the nation. Four sentences into that address, Franklin Roosevelt uttered the words that have lived long beyond his four-term presidency: “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” So spoke the nation’s leader in that dark hour of economic despair. Because that’s what leaders are raised up to do, is it not? To call the people, the populace, the public to renewed confidence and hope for the journey yet ahead, to remind them of their “rendezvous with destiny.” That’s precisely what an aged leader named Moses did in an ancient book that becomes the grist for our worship journey this new season. Deuteronomy is in fact the farewell address (no doubt the longest farewell address in history!) of that beloved leader to the children of Israel who had literally grown up under the tutelage of his forty year administration. As we handle the document and text of his last will and testament to this community that had exhausted four decades of wandering in the bleached, barren wilderness south of Canaan, we will ponder the notion that in their wanderings lies the tale of our own journey toward the Promised Land. For the apostle firmly asserts: “Now all these things happened to them [in the wilderness] as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (I Corinthians 10:11). Have “the ends of the ages” come upon us? And are we prepared for the high calling of that “rendevous with destiny?” What are the lessons of and for “the chosen?” Journey with me this season as we track the sandy footprints of that chosen generation long, long ago. And in Moses’ appeal to remember, may we heed the call of another leader who spoke courage into the uncertainty of a journey that yet remained: “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teaching in our past history” (Life Sketches 196). Nothing to fear, much to remember, and a future to claim. It is the shining hour of “The Chosen.” Shall we not seize it?