Ecclesiastes 3:8 (NIV)
8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
In January 1776 Peter Muhlenberg preached a message from his pulpit in Virginia on Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. When he got to the end of his message he emphasized verse 8. There is a time for war and that time is now. In those days all preachers in America preached with black robes on. He took of his robe in front of the congregation which was really strange. No one had ever seen this before. When he took off the robe, underneath he was wearing the uniform of a colonel in the Continental Army. As he walked to the back of the church he continued to preach. As he finished verse 8 he said again, the time for war is now! Who is with me? 300 of the men of that church stood up and joined Pastor Muhlenberg. They became the 8th Virginia Brigade fighting for liberty! At the end of the war, George Washington had 17 major generals. Peter Muhlenberg was one of those 17.
Peter Muhlenberg had a brother named Frederick who was also a Pastor in New York. When Frederick found out what Peter had done, he wrote him a scathing letter. Telling him he was a Pastor and had no business being a soldier or being involved in political matters. Peter wrote him back and basically said if it wasn’t for people like me, you wouldn’t have the freedoms and liberties you currently enjoy! At the time New York had 19 churches. About a year later the British came in and burned 10 of the churches completely to the ground and the other 9 were totally desecrated. Frederick has an epiphany and decides maybe he should join his brother Peter in the fight for liberty. Ironically, Frederick ended up becoming the first Speaker of the House of the young nation.
America was founded on great principles. Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to peaceably assemble, and the right to redress our government over grievances. As Christians have left the public realm, especially the realm of politics, people of evil intent have gradually filled the vacuum we have left and over time they have slowly began to infringe upon the rights of the American people. Being a peace loving people we have let them take away one right after another without so much as a whimper because we didn’t feel it affected us. I’m reminded of what Martin Niemoller a Protestant Pastor in World War II Germany said, “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.
There is a prayer in 2 Samuel and the Bible says God was moved by their prayer on behalf of the land. May we pray like our freedoms depend upon it, because in all reality they do! May we live our lives with the courage of a person who knows Christ such a way that we will be faithful even to the end!
Consumed by the call,