Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. Fear the Lord, you His saints, for those who fear Him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies. Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Psalm 34:8-13 (NIV)
It must have been the American history my elder Granddaughter Hannah was studying this morning that brought that moment to mind. It was in the eighth grade of one of my junior high schools in a small town in up-state New York.
Our history teacher threw out a challenge and opportunity to the class, for extra credit, which re-introduced me—for life—to an inspiring moment in our American history. Our task: to memorize the entirety of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s classic poem—“Paul Revere’s Ride.” That memorization, and the memorable and lyrical depiction of history in Longfellow’s account of Paul Revere’s midnight ride has stayed with me since that day when I stood before the class to recite it in all its patriotic splendor.
Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, “If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,-
One if by land, and two if by sea; (and so on…)”
“Paul Revere’s Ride”, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
No less splendid were some of the moments from this morning as Lynda and I were helping our two Granddaughters, who spent the night with us, with some of their schoolwork. Without a blink of hesitation this morning while she and her Mimi were working on some things together, Ellie Kate, our younger Granddaughter, rattled off the scripture set out above. Of course, Mimi immediately called me from the other room where I was helping Hannah with her assignments, so Ellie Kate could share her memory verses with me. Glorious.
As Ellie Kate exhaled the last of her memorized words from Psalm 34, Hannah began to recite John 3:16 and Philippians 4:13 and others, as our smiles broadened and our hearts warmed. Not just out of immense pride we always have in our two precious girls, but because we knew that their focus on the things of God would keep their hearts and minds closer to the person of God.
And that’s a good place to be, today and every day.
Today, after the passing of all those years, and even though a little rusty, I can still recite those lines from that Longfellow poem painting the picture of what that historic moment must have been like. And the visions and images of that ride, in that night, still vividly come to life for me as I do.
That’s what seems to happen with things we put in our hearts and minds, as opposed to our bodies. They remain. And that’s something we need to remember in our lives and in the lives of those we love. What we allow in, what we dwell upon today, is what we will probably remember tomorrow and for a long time to come.
Perhaps, as we consider that, we would all do well to remember the words of the Apostle Paul when he shares:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
Right there in God’s Word.
Never a bad place to start. Never know when someone might want to know about a magnificent moment in our history; or something even more splendid.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2010. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.