April 9th – a very important day.
On April 9th, three years ago, Stephen Douglas Wilson wrote an insightful article on the 150th anniversary of the eventful day at Appomattox where Gen. Lee surrendered to Sen. Grant. It was a a day that set a tone for healing the wounds of division caused by years of bloodshed, heartache, and a nation being torn asunder.
Lee was surrounded, out-manned, and had very few options as he faced “Unconditional Surrender Grant.” Lee showed up to the McLean residence in Appomattox in his best uniform and Grant was a bit late as he arrived in a mud splattered field uniform. Grant had hastened to get there. They talked of their service in the Mexican War, and more. But it took Lee nudging Grant into the conversation of surrender. It was a moment of grace as Grant proposed a gentle surrender. No counts of treason with a promise of parole if they committed to lay down their arms and to never take them up against the USA again, officers could keep their weapons and horses, and eventually, the enlisted men were able to keep their horses to assist in running their farms.
They shook hands and returned to their respective lines. As Grant returned to his men, they began to cheer – but he stopped them and said, “The Confederates are now our countrymen, and we do not want to exult over their downfall.”
I visited Appomattox last year. It was beautiful, peaceful, and for a few minutes of my life, I truly was in awe at my surroundings. I will never forget that visit. What happened there, what grace was shown, and what it means for our country – it left a mark on my life.
The concept of grace is, well, amazing. Grace is something I have studied and taught, experienced and occasionally missed to show, and what I am pursuing to live my life according to. At the hotel I am working, they call me the man of grace – they intend it as a slam of the way I work with hard guests (they think I am gullible) but I take it as a compliment. In this fallen and broken world, grace is not easy to come by. It is hard to show. Most want to live by the rules Sean Connery gave in ‘The Untouchables’ – if he pulls a knife, you pull a gun. He sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue!
Me? I want to turn the other cheek, show mercy, and be a blessing – especially to those who seek to do me harm. I want to be known as full of grace. The difference – Christ. I do not think I could ever show grace if I have not experienced His grace first.
Challenging Thought – I hope you too will be known for grace and mercy. I pray grace is so evident from Christ followers that non-believers look at us and want some of what we have – or more correctly, some of Who we have – we have Jesus and that makes all the difference in the world.
Be a person of grace received and grace given.
- Thanks for sharing in my journey – Todd
Post Script – read the article to which I referred at http://www.bpnews.net/44521