Building Monuments

Not long ago I spent a week in Springfield, Illinois, and had the opportunity to visit both the Lincoln Museum and Lincoln’s Tomb. The exhibit in the museum was sobering, and I only wish I had more time to take it all in. For those of us

Lincoln's Tomb

who think the level of rancor and vitriol in US politics has become the ugliest in our memory, if not in all time, it would be wise to walk down the hallways of that museum. This is a link to one of the political cartoons displayed there.

What a contrast it was to visit Lincoln’s tomb. (I hope I remember rightly that it is the 2nd most visited tomb in the US.) What a monument to a man of courage. Of course one is reminded of the Lincoln Monument in D.C., where Lincoln is seated so majestically. In looking at these monuments, it would be easy to forget how hated and despised Lincoln was by many.

In today’s Gospel reading from Luke we read, “Woe to you who build the memorials of the prophets whom your fathers killed.” Prophets can make us feel uncomfortable for they shine a light on our actions and call us to live differently. If we don’t want to change . . . then let’s get rid of the prophet.

Who are the prophets in our time? On what activities are they shining a light? How are we invited to live differently for the sake of the poor, the immigrant, those living in their cars, the children enslaved in sex-trafficking, an our planet and all the beings on it?

Will we pay attention now? Or build a monument later?

 

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