When our boys were little, they loved trains. So we took them on short rail train rides all over Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia. Each one was restored from a real railroad line that no longer existed. And to create a nostalgic experience of what it was like to ride that real train in its heyday, reenactors would pose as ticket agents, engineers, and conductors. The reenactor jobs were real jobs. They just weren’t the original real jobs – with the real labor the original real jobs entailed. The original real ticket agents, engineers, and conductors had hard jobs. And those who held those real hard jobs truly labored each day for their paychecks. For that reason, railroad jobs have always been listed as one of the hardest jobs in the world. But the absolute hardest job in the world is being a follower of Christ.
In 1776, the Continental Congress signed a document that declared “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Many Americans believe it declared that our nation was founded on the bedrock idea of freedom. But while the text of that document does declare freedom for “all men,” it was only referring to the freedom of white land-owning males. Which is an important fact to acknowledge. That is because it took the framers until 1787 to get the Constitution approved, and to 1791 to ratify the 10 amendments called “the Bill of Rights.” It was not until we fought a Civil War, and the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments were ratified, that our nation’s laws actually declared ALL people free in every sense of the word.
During Lent, the 3rd grade Sunday School class at First Methodist was asked to draw something depicting the last part of Jesus’ earthly life. Most were easy to figure out. One drawing showed a man with a whip chasing people out of the temple. Another pictured 13 men eating at a table. A third depicted a man being approached by a mob with clubs. But one picture was puzzling. It was of an airplane, with two smiling faces sticking out of the cockpit windows. So the teacher asked the student to explain what he drew. “Well,” the boy said, “that first man is Jesus.” “OK,” the teacher thought, “that fits.” “Who’s the other person?” she asked “That’s Pontius,” he said. ‘OK,” the teacher thought, “that fits, too.” “Why the plane?” she asked. “It belongs to Pontius,” the boy said, “because you told us Pontius was a pilot.”
The story is told of a boy who was raised in a palace. When he was old enough to understand, he was told that he was not living there by accident but because he was the nephew of the king. What’s more, he also was told he would one day sit on the throne since the king had no children. But a few years later, the excitement of that news ended when he discovered that his uncle was not who he claimed to be. He was not the rightful king at all, but a usurper! The boy himself was the true king! That is because it was his father who held the throne before his uncle. And the throne now belonged to his uncle only because his uncle murdered his father to get it. Those who have read the book, or seen the movie, realize the story line, I just described is that of the C.S. Lewis tale Prince Caspian. But that story line did not originate with C.S., Lewis.
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