Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory

Who are your heroes? Do have many? I wonder… what are the special qualities we admire the most in them… strength of character….perseverance against adversity….selfless giving….all qualities that are very Christ like in nature. So what does it do for us to have these kinds of roll models? Isn’t Jesus enough?

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory
Eunice Kennedy Shriver founder of the Special Olympics, Artist: David Lenz, 2009, Oil and Acrylic on Canvas, National Portrait Gallery , Washington DC, image limitations

As we rested last week at the National Portrait Gallery, I thought we should take a look around and consider: How do we define our heroes and heroines in the stories of our lives. These remarkable women I believe, shine a light into the heart of God and so the center of our meditation this week. Consider how Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founder of the Special Olympics, is portrayed here with all her special children around her. She is not looking at us, she is instead looking to them. They are her legacy….her light…the light of God’s love will shine through them to make the world a kinder and gentler place.

Helen Adams Keller, photographer Charles Whitman, 1904, Platinum print, NGA pics, some rights reserved.

And then look here at this portrait of Helen Keller. When I really stopped to consider what she was saying here, I was so touched…she is showing us what she can do…she is saying remember me for what I can do not for what I can’t do. I am so moved by her strength.

But this is how it is when we fill ourselves up with the knowledge of Christ. We begin to see him everywhere in all kinds of expressions. And we realize that we also are God’s way of expressing Christ to the world…in all kinds of ways.

One of the most powerful thoughts for me..the one that keeps me getting up and teaching music on the days I don’t feel like anyone notices or cares…is the thought of Beethoven sitting at his piano composing his “Ode to Joy” or 9th symphony and not ever hearing it performed…When I think of him in that moment I get up and do it all over again…because I can, because I need to shine on.

Julia Ward Howe, artist John Elliott and William Henry Cotton, c.1925, oil on canvas, NPG Washington DC, Some rights reserved.

Paul encourages us also when he writes “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2

Think also of the importance of Julia Ward Howe, the writer of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. With her song she inspired a nation, to rally behind one glorious cause of Christ’s truth marching on…in the living:)

“In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born a cross the sea, with a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me; as he died to make men holy, let us live to make men free. Our God is marching on.”

This version of her inspiring hymn is wonderful because I think it highlights the message of Christ in the song without all the flag waving. I am as patriotic as the next person, but I think sometimes we miss the power of her message…this song, being sung by Christians from another country illustrates how attractive Jesus is for the entire world. These are the qualities of our heroes.

Dear Lord, Thank you for these strong women in our history. We honor them as we remember all those who have been heroes of our American Independence. Help us to remember to shine your light of love and freedom to all the world, to keep looking outward and to shine the light of your love like lady liberty to distant shores. Amen

ps. Book tip for this week that approaches the 4th: Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy. I remember really being inspired by this book as a child and I might just have to pick up a copy and read it all over again.

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