How long do we remain silent
while the thief takes without resistance? Two Words! Laus Deo! On
the aluminum cap atop the Washington Monument in Washington DC are
two words: Laus Deo. No one can see these words. In fact ... most
visitors to the monument have no idea they are even there and .. for
that matter ... probably could care less! But there they are ....
555 feet, 5.125 inches high .. perched atop the monument to the father
of our nation ... overlooking the 69 square miles which comprise the
District of Columbia ... capital of the United States of America.
Two seemingly insignificant,
unnoticed words ... out of sight and, one might think, out of mind
... but very meaningfully placed at the highest point over what is
the most powerful city in the world. And what might those two words
... comprised of just four syllables and only seven letters ... mean?
Very simply ... “Praise be to God!”
Though construction of this
giant obelisk began in 1848 when James Polk was President of the United
States, it was not until 1888 that the monument was inaugurated and
opened to the public. It took twenty five years to finally cap the
memorial with the tribute Laus Deo! Praise be to God!
From atop this magnificent
granite and marble structure ... a visitor can take in the beautiful
panoramic view of the city with its division into four major segments.
And from that vantage point one can also easily see the original plan
of the designer, Pierre Charles l’Enfant ... a perfect cross
imposed upon the landscape ... with the White House to the north ...
the Jefferson Memorial to the south ... the Capitol to the east ...
and the Lincoln Memorial to the west. A cross .... you say? How interesting!
And ... no doubt ... intended to carry a meaning for those who bother
to notice. Praise be to God!
Within the monument itself
are 898 steps and 50 landings. As one climbs the steps and pauses
at the landings the memorial stones share a message. On the 12th Landing
is a prayer offered by the City of Baltimore; on the 20th is a memorial
presented by some Chinese Christians; on the 24th a presentation made
by Sunday School children from New York and Philadelphia quoting Proverbs
10:7, Luke 18:16 and Proverbs 22:6. Praise be to God!
When the cornerstone of
the Washington Monument was laid on July 4th, 1848 deposited within
it were many items including the Holy Bible presented by the Bible
Society. Praise be to God!
Such was the discipline,
the moral direction, the spiritual mood given by the founder and first
President of our unique democracy .. “one nation, under God.”
I am awed by Washington’s prayer for America. Have you never
read it? Well now is your opportunity .. read on!
We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States
in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the
citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to
government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one
another and for their fellow citizens of the United states at large.”
“And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to
dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves
with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were
the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion,
and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things
we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication,
we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” Laus
As you might have guessed
... I kind of like the idea that our Pledge of Allegiance includes
the phrase “under God.” It is clear when one studies the
history of our great nation that Washington’s America was one
of the few countries in all the world established under the guidance,
direction and banner of Almighty God, to whom was given all praise,
honor and worship by the great men who formed and fashioned her pivotal
foundations. And ... when one stops to observe the inscriptions found
in public places all over our nation’s capitol ... one will
easily find the signature of God. We are a nation under God!!! Laus
Deo!!! Praise be to God!!!
Unless the Lord builds
the house its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over
the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. (Psalm 127: 1)