2023 Worship Guide

Page 14 2023 Worship Guide LINCOLN DAILY NEWS December 2023 With Malice toward None, with Charity for All By Dr. John Castelein When President Lincoln gave our town his name, he also imparted some of his spirit to its inhabitants. That spirit is manifested throughout his entire life and in many of his speeches, but nowhere as clearly expressed as on March 4, 1865, in his magnificent Second Inaugural Address. As the Civil War came to its bloody conclusion, the president showed the nation his heart and called for reconciliation in our wounded nation with these immortal words: “With malice toward none, with charity for all...” We rightly give special tribute to the birthdays of great human beings, and, among them, Abraham Lincoln does indeed rank very high. However, the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas time receives unequaled devotion and reverence. Significantly, Lincoln quotes Jesus twice in this short address (along with other biblical references). I think his profound sufferings as president and his deep reflections on the Will of God throughout the fratricidal war enabled the president to say with our Lord: “Not our will be done but Thy Will be done” (Matt 26:38-42)! In turn, becoming fully human, with all its creaturely limitations (Hebrews 4:15; 5:78), enabled the Lord Jesus to affirm the president’s insight: “The Almighty has His own purposes.” He humbly prayed: “not my will but Thine be done” (Luke 22:42). Christmas is about the mysterious juxtaposition of charity and malice! Christmas dramatizes God’s charity toward humanity amid King Herod’s malice toward the children born in Bethlehem (Matt 2:16). Today we read the same stories of vicious slaughter and see Continued --