“Blessed are the peacemakers, because they will be called sons of God.”
Are you dismayed by the hostile political climate in our day? Don’t you wish we could return to the spirit of our Founding Fathers and cooperate in mutual trust?
We picture the Founding Fathers gathered in the convention hall in Philadelphia – patiently waiting their turn to stand in the midst of the assembly and stretch out their arm in a noble pose and say something famous, like, “Give me liberty or give me death.”
Then everyone would repair to the nearest tavern for a tankard of ale and a plate of apple pan dowdy, and spend an agreeable afternoon deciding who got to speak the next famous saying on the morrow.
Unfortunately, it was never like that. The Founding Fathers were certainly courageous; they knew their decisions placed their lives in jeopardy. And they were unbelievably intelligent, because back then, they elected you to office on the basis of ability, not your good looks.
But, despite their common vision of a nation governed by the consent of the people, as men of great passion, they squabbled and fought like alley cats. Two of them, Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton, grew so incensed with each other that they fought a duel to the death.
But the bitterest feud was between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Though the two had been friends for many years, their differing political viewpoints boiled over in mutual accusations. After exchanging pungent letters, they refused to communicate with each other for years.
Benjamin Rush was a mutual friend of Adams and Jefferson, a fellow signer of the Declaration of Independence, and a devout Christian.
Rush sought to reconcile the two. He wrote to Adams about a dream he had. He dreamed that Adams had written a kind letter to Jefferson, and that Jefferson returned an equally gracious letter. In his dream, the two men reconciled their differences and renewed their friendship. Then both of them “sunk into the grave nearly at the same time, full of years . . .”
Adams did write a conciliatory letter to Jefferson. Benjamin Rush immediately wrote to Adams, “I rejoice in the correspondence which has taken place between you and your old friend, Mr. Jefferson.” Jefferson wrote a gracious letter back. Rush wrote to Jefferson to rejoice in “this reunion of two souls destined to be dear to each other . . .”
Through a peacemaker, these two giants of our nation’s founding were reconciled.
In the 50th year of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, full of years, died. Hours later on the same day, John Adams passed away . . . on the 4th of July.
Sometimes dreams do come true.
Copyright 2012 by Marty Kaarre