Thursday, July 3, 2008

July 4th Thoughts

During the War of 1812, a young Navy Commodore, Oliver Hazard Perry, bettered six British warships in the Battle of Lake Erie. His message, "We have met the enemy and they are ours" is one of the enduring memories of that battle.

One of his nine ships, the brig Niagara, was reconstructed in 1990 and became seaworthy again. Its berth is in Erie, part of the Erie Maritime Museum, right downtown next to the county library.

It travels a great deal during the summer, appearing at local boat festivals and displays of naval history events, but can often be seen in full sail in our bay and out on the lake. Here it is right off the Glinodo shore.

Photo by Ann Muczynski, OSB

On another note: An addition to our Morning Praise on the 4th, will be these thoughts from the late minister and peace activist, William Sloane Coffin, Jr. in his book, Credo. They seem especially apropos in a presidential election year:

"The abiding faith that this country needs for its spiritual restoration and future health is the faith of the prophets, who loved Israel, but whose love for their country was often measured by their deep disappointment with it.

Prophetic faith is full of anger, yet always anchored in the goodness of God, not in hatred of enemies. Prophetic faith recognizes that economic tyranny can be as great as political tyranny. It sees justice as central to salvation. It recognizes that God's unconditional concern for justice is not a projection upon God of our human attributes, but rather that, to the degree that we embody justice, God takes form within us.

For American liberty to be restored and extended, American Christians need to carry on with their country the same lover's quarrel that the prophets of old carried on with Israel, and that God consistently carries on with the whole world.

When a government betrays the ideals of a country, it is an act of loyalty to oppose the government. We must take the road less traveled as the prophets did and be more concerned with our country saving its soul than with it losing face."