By Nancy Bacon

A house divided ... cannot stand

From the Pastor's Desk


February 15, 2020

Nancy Bacon

February is the month our country celebrates its iconic former presidents honoring them with a national holiday. Wouldn't it be interesting if we could have President Washington and President Lincoln among us at this moment in time, giving us some perspective and inspiration?

Our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, experienced our new nation after the honeymoon was over and deep divisions brought us to civil war. I would love to hear his comments on our current state of affairs. President Lincoln was a self taught man who knew his bible. One of his most memorable phrases, "A house divided against itself cannot stand" came to him from the Gospels of Mark (3:25), Matthew (12:25) and Luke (11:17b).

He used this phrase in a speech he gave on June 16, 1858 to delegates at the Republican State Convention in Springfield, Illinois, stating:

"A house divided against itself, cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved - I do not expect the house to fall - but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new - North as well as South."

Lincoln's faith required him to stand against the evil of slavery. It must have been frightening for him to believe that only one side would win out. He believed that the country would not continue being divided. As we now know, he also believed that the winning side would need to reach out, forgive, and help to heal the deep wounds war inflicted. That's how his faith-inspired leadership helped to make our nation whole again. After the south's defeat, Lincoln knew that we are all Americans and that revenge by the winning side would keep us divided. He sought something bigger.

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Interestingly, Lincoln's wise prophetic speech about a divided nation was not impressive enough to secure his election to the senate. He lost to Stephen Douglas. Perhaps his words were too threatening, announcing eternal inconvenient truths. His words did not win the day, but in the end, standing by them, he stood his ground with faith in what they meant. We win some and we lose some, but in Lincoln's words, "Let's have faith that right makes might; and in that faith let us, to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it...I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong."

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Pastor Nancy

About Tehachapi Community Church, UCC:

No matter who you are, no matter where you are on life's journey, you're welcome here!

The Tehachapi Community Church, UCC is an open and welcoming community of faith that believes that each person, created in the image of God, holds a piece of the truth. Therefore we respect each person's unique spiritual journey. We invite you to experience the difference that religious freedom in a caring community can make in that journey.

We are located at 100 East E St., in Tehachapi. Worship and Sunday School are at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays. Please join us for coffee and fellowship at our Friendship Hall after worship (approximately 11:30 a.m.). All are welcome.


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