Constitutional Convention – Benjamin Franklin, July 28, 1787


benjamin-franklin“In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the Contest with G. Britain, when we were sensible of danger we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection.  Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered.  All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a superintending providence in our favor.

“And have we now forgotten that powerful Friend?  Or do we imagine we no longer need His assistance?  I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God Governs in the affairs of men.  And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?

To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity.  We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.”  I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better, than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and bye word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

“I therefore beg leave to move – that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of this City be requested to officiate in that Service.”

Will We Succeed?

When I first accepted Jesus as LORD of my life at 25, I was grateful for his merciful forgiveness.  My walk was full of passionate glee at the fresh start!  I was discipled by mature Christians to focus on the Cross of Christ and meditate on the Resurrection.  In prayer, I stood among the crowd in front of Pilate until realizing that I was among those screaming, “Crucify him!”  The terror of my selfish demand that the Author of Life die in my place was sickening. I had to get a closer look at Jesus.

As my prayers changed to remorse, I caught glimpses of Jesus carrying his cross and presumptuously offered myself in place of Simon of Cyrene.  What personal folly that revealed!  My own tragic immaturity and hunger for significance assaulted me.  I was unworthy.  Not only was I a master at concealing sin (even from myself), I discovered that I wasted much life actually NURTURING my offenses.  Shame turned to shock when I realized Jesus was helping ME carry my own cross…

at-the-foot-of-the-cross-01How many lifetimes have I lingered in the mud below the Cross of Christ?  How often have I begged that His shed blood would cleanse me?  My petty opinions and creative evils torment my soul.  “Save me, Lord, from my corrupt mind and heart!  Crucify me instead!”

Love for Jesus.  Willingness to embrace the horror of the Cross.  Acceptance of guilt and the overwhelming realization that Jesus completes all creation…  Total forgiveness.  Transforming joy.

Then the whisper, “Stand up, learn from me.”

Galatians is a cannonball shot over the bow, exclaiming Christian freedom.  We face an epic battle against rulers, powers, increasing world darkness, and spiritual wickedness (Ephesians 6).  We must learn to stand.  We will succeed in our struggle – if we fear God and repent of our sins.

Galatians 2:20 (NASB)  I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.