This evening, 150 years ago, a well known actor and a president entered Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC for two entirely different reasons. One wanted to relax watching a comedic play the other to wipe the president off the stage of history. Lincoln was not a saint, he was a politician, but he had a saintly desire to set the stage for a the United States to take the world stage where words like liberty, freedom, hope, and dignity would be a beacon for all people. He did not wish to impose our political system on the whole of the human race but he saw the merit and the morality that could transform humanity.
No one should be enslaved by anyone. If one person is enslaved we are all enslaved. Each person deserves dignity. We have not realized the dreams Lincoln dreamed but we keep hearing his voice,
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
Besides the work of ending slavery there was another even greater work that is the very motivation for the first – the work of peace making. The things that make for peace give humans true freedom. So tonight when you sit down or your head rests gently on your pillow remember Honest Abe from rural Illinois and say a prayer that his dream may still be realized. Like the Biblical “Father” Abraham, we are the progeny of his dream.